Stevens Gulch 1/23/21 #Hiking #Journey #NewYearNewHeights

The sun peeking out from behind the pine trees / Image © 2021 Jason A. Muckley

Trails traveled: Indian Creek Trail, Stevens Gulch Trail, Difficulty: Hard (Black)
Loop, 10 miles, 2,000 feet elevation gain
Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
Weather: Partly Cloudy

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Mud
  • Cold
  • Winter Hike
  • Sedalia, Colorado
  • Snow cleats
  • Indian Creek Campground

This was one of the harder hikes I have done in some time. I thought I was getting into about a 7-mile hike, which is challenging, but is a typical length for me. I think I might have started off with the wrong trail and then at the end I was thinking, when is this hike going to be over?!

As I hiked I thought maybe my GPS was off on the mileage because sometimes it loses its location and reports a bogus length. When I checked it out on a map at home later, I confirmed that I was right at 10 miles for my hike. I am sore now!

Only the past year or so have I gotten into winter hikes. I have tried traction devices, and for this hike I tried out my new snow cleats. These were a Christmas/birthday gift I got myself. It motivates me to get on the trail even when it’s 30 °F outside and there is snow (or super slippery ice) on the ground. I put on a couple extra layers, my neck gaiter, a pair of gloves and hat, and dig up my hiking boots and traction device.

Hiking in the winter makes even old trails that you’ve done a dozen times before completely new. The landscape looks completely different and gives you a new view of something you might have seen a hundred times before. And if you are working on keeping New Years resolutions, research shows that you burn more calories in the winter on a hike compared to in the spring.

Now, I like to hibernate the same as everyone else, but I feel like I’ve been stuck inside since like October or November with this global pandemic thing going on. Getting outside and going for a hike is a great way to break up the quarantine blues, get some vitamin D, and stretch your legs. I was reading an article in a outdoor magazine this week and I was inspired. I need to go hike more! I live in Colorado for crying out loud!

Another thing I love about hiking and being outdoors, in general, is that it provides a perfect opportunity to clear my head and let go of extraneous gunk weighing me down and re-focus on what’s next for me. Sometimes I get in a funk and getting outside is the best cure for me.

What I was most happy about was that the 7+ mile hike that I planned to take 4 hours and morphed into a 10-miler still took about 4 and a half hours, which was good since the sun was starting to set as I reached the car. I got to snap this beautiful picture too!

Sunset at Indian Creek Campground / Image © 2021 Jason A. Muckley

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