Indian Peaks Earthing, It's Personal
Indian Peaks Earthing, It's Personal
Hiking is personal. The reasons we do this. The company we choose. The way we treat the natural environment and absorb the beauty around us. Our paths and destinations. Each of us has our own motivations and attitudes. Some of us are over-the-top accomplished with the need to push our limits every time. Some of us are completely satisfied with a casual stroll. What matters most is that we just get outside and enjoy what we’ve been given no matter where we live.
There might also be another reason to get out hiking. Ancient medicine has been practicing it for years: Earthing. Earthing is simply physically touching the earth, skin to ground. It might sound silly, but the physiological benefits of transferring the earth’s electrons are starting to gain a growing body of evidence from modern medical research. Earthing: check it out from the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.
One thing that attracts me to hiking is new and unique places. I’ve been around the world, but sometimes it feels like I haven’t been hardly anywhere. I had heard about the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area earlier this year. Since then I’ve been eager to experience some hiking in that part of Colorado immediately south of Rocky Mountain National Forest. Among all the wilderness areas in the Rocky Mountains none is more frequently visited than the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area which can be easily accessed a short distance west of Boulder. Since wilderness areas have few maintained roads, the deeper a person hikes into the wilderness, the less people and more undisturbed it becomes. Today was to be a reconnaissance mission, hiking to gather some beta for future visits.
Brian Richmond joined me for our third hike together this year. It was his first time in this area too. His job will be taking him out of Colorado for a few months and so he wanted to take in one more hike before heading out.
I met Brian at his home on the south side of Denver. We drove to the Lake Brainard Gateway Trailhead a couple miles outside of Ward, population 155. It’s a nice ride down 119 from Boulder through Boulder Canyon and then turning north on Peak to Peak Highway (72) in Nederland. The Boulder Canyon area is where many world-class rock climbers train on the rugged and formidable granite faces. It’s easy to become distracted by the grandeur while driving through this Canyon.
Since the Brainard Lake Recreational Area is closed to car traffic this time of year we parked immediately before the pay station and hiked in 2.5 miles to the lake. There are two different trail maps, one for summer and one for winter. The winter map shows Waldrop Trail north of the road. We took that trail and connected up with the Snowshoe Trail until we arrived at the well maintained Pawnee Campground a couple hundred yards from the lake.
Of course the lake was stunning with some of the Indian Peaks (Mt Audubon, Paiute Peak, Mt Toll, Pawnee Peak, Shoshoni Peak) as the backdrop. And less than a mile later we were at Long Lake with an even better view, as if these views can be compared.
Portions of the trail were traveled enough to dismiss the need for snowshoes. But we wondered off on some less used trails that offered us opportunity to use more of our winter gear.
We hiked nearly 8 miles with an almost unnoticeable 760 ft in elevation gain over 6 hours in gorgeous blue sky weather. We didn’t see any moose or any other woodland critters. But the views and the dramatic mountain skyline were enough to convince us that we had much more earthing to do here. There will be more stories about this place, personal stories.
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