Or, fun with the macro setting on my camera, plus a thunderstorm.
Yesterday we went on our first hike of the season. We opted for a trail near Red Rocks, part of which we’ve already hiked, but most of which we hadn’t, and because the weather has been so weird lately (on-and-off thunderstorms with lots of rain/hail daily!) we decided to go earlier in the day than we normally might in order to try to beat the storm.
We lucked out and got a beautiful blue-sky day for the first half hour of the 6-mile hike. The sun went behind clouds at times, but always returned to warm us up. I stopped a whole bunch of times to photograph the gorgeous colors that are Colorado wildflowers during this very short period of the year (and because of the weather of late, most everything was still green!).
At the halfway point, rather than turning back the way we’d come we decided to take the loop shown on the trail map and go back a different way. While it was enjoyable in the “there’s nobody else here!” sort of way, it was perhaps not the best decision because at 2 PM suddenly the ominous clouds rolled in. And we weren’t entirely sure of the route, particularly when the raindrops started falling and then the thunder and the lightning. We were on an unfamiliar trail right next to a busy road that kept climbing and then there were two ways we could go and which one was the right way? We had no idea. We picked the downhill direction, ended up not on a trail but at a road by Dinosaur Ridge, and then it was raining harder and HAILING and there was no shelter at all except a skinny little tree.
We were wet and cold, standing under that tree, when a tour bus full of people with umbrellas stopped nearby to look at dinosaur bones in the rain and hail. The bus drove away. The hail diminished and we knew we were at least a mile away from the car and there was no way of knowing whether the storm would slack off or get worse, so we decided to walk to the car along the road, sunscreen running in our faces and stinging our eyes, being pelted by hard rain and bits of ice as cars zoomed by. My eyes hurt so much I could hardly see, and Dan didn’t look like he felt much better than I did. Plus, I had to pee. But you know what? It could have been worse, because not too long after we began our trek back a kind motorist stopped and offered us a ride. He’d been mountain biking, possibly along some of the same trails, and told us he’d finished his ride right as the sky had opened up. “You guys didn’t look like the hard core, tough-it-out types,” he told us. We thanked him and got in our car just as the storm took a turn for the worse, and we sat there shivering and eating our peanut butter sandwiches, soaked to the skin.
It was another Colorado adventure. Next time we’ll get an even earlier start. And it turns out we weren’t the only hikers caught in the crazy Colorado summer weather yesterday!