Friday, December 26, 2008

A Christmas Day's Walk

Christmas is always such a wonderful time. The day in and of itself is magical in the fact that it is the one day out of the entire year where much of our world, at least in the western, Judeo-Christian world, comes to a complete grinding halt. There are hardly any stores open for the day. There is very little traffic on the roads. I so love the peace and quiet that comes with Christmas! To me Christmas is always a day to get out and walk, hike or ski. This year my desire to be outside and take a long, thought producing walk was very strong. Zack would have nothing of it. I cannot blame him. He just received a ton of toys for Christmas, so he wanted to stay at home and play with them. I wasn’t about to force him to go out and walk with me. I let him stay at home with Nancy – his grandmother – my late wife’s mother.
I journeyed out for my walk late in the afternoon. My destination for the day was the East-West Regional trail in Highlands Ranch. Now Highlands Ranch isn’t necessarily my favorite place in this world. It is large development that has grown from nothing in 1988 to a home for over 100,000 people. Each year, the bulldozers and earth movers scrape away more of the open rangeland and turn into tracts of homes. It is hard for me to see acre after acre - home to wild animals and beautiful plants turned into roads, shopping malls, houses and all the other accoutrements of our modern world. The East-West Regional trail is a new trail that will eventually span much of northern Douglas County running from Highlands Ranch to at least Parker. So far only 6 or 7 miles of it have been built in 2 separate areas. I was going to walk on the section that starts at trailhead near Daniels Park. The sun was already beginning to set by the time I started on my walk. The wind was very strong and I was glad that I had an extra jacket in my car. The hike itself was good as I had the whole area pretty much to myself. The trail follows a high ridge that is up above Highway 85. This ridge marks the western most terminus of the Palmer Divide. Once you descend down this ridge into the valley below the land is relatively flat until you hit the foothills of the Front Range Mountains about 7 miles further west. To be honest the hike was nothing particularly special based upon the terrain and environment. But what was special was the time it gave me to think and enjoy my own thoughts locked away in my head. I am sure if anyone had seen me I would have seemed to have been in a fog – but it was exactly what I needed on this magical day of days! I hope everyone’s holidays are going well and are very enjoyable! Peace to all!

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