It was the first hike of 2020 up a mountain and I knew it would be hard. The snow on the trail was a mixture of ice, slush, hard pack and muddy.
Life resembles this trail with a mixture of easy, fast, cautious, and not pleasant paths. It changed so quickly from one type of snow to another depending upon the direction, vertical climb, wind and sun exposure. My life has been this way during the transition from full time work to retirement. Every day is different and yet the foundation is the same. Walking with God.
“He sends his orders to the world—how swiftly his word flies!
He sends the snow like white wool; he scatters frost upon the ground like ashes.
He hurls the hail like stones. Who can stand against his freezing cold?” Psalm 147:15-17 New Living Translation (NLT)
The beginning of the trail was relatively snow packed and easy, even without crampons for the ice. We passed a bridge, some exposed wooden slats on the path and a few people returning this way from the Mesa. As we changed to the north side of the mountain less exposed to sun, the snow turned to mush and each step was cautious as we began the climb.
This trail is a bit north of downtown Golden on the road to Boulder, Colorado and is well marked with restrooms and a large parking lot. There are many paths and the main one is a bit over 3 miles. The sun was shining and the air warm in the 40s with a breeze.
We were taking off outer clothes by the time we finished climbing to the top of the mesa on the north side. But NOT hiking in shorts.
The top of the mountain rewarded us with a view of mountains, distant civilization and silence. The top snow was a mixture of mud and icy spots depending upon where the sun had melted the exposed path. I was panting and had to rest, as I was not ready for the slowness of each carefully placed step.
Table Mountain is a mesa, which is a flat-topped mountain. There were power lines across this open space and a radio tower with two guys in a four-wheel drive truck doing repairs. Civilization was seen in the distance. This is not a hike for the summer or for a howling windy day as there is no shade. None.
As we ended the hike, we saw the large Table Rock formation that can be viewed from downtown Golden and the steep descent that awaited us. It was icy. Very steep. We passed people going up and down just this section of the trail in order to get a quick workout. One person was even running up and down this section. Not us. Baby steps. Slippery ice. Vertical. Relief. Arrival. No falls.
What do you do to prepare for your first hike of the season? How does the different kinds of snow resemble different times in your life?