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The view of Jefferson Lake before I hiked up to the summit of Whale Peak yesterday morning

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What a muddy and messy hike this turned out to be! The recent warm temperatures coupled with the melting snow ultimately led to hiking through some extremely muddy conditions for nearly the entire hike. After a short while, I soon decided to simply just walk straight through it all because my feet were already soaked. And because playing in the mud is always fun too!

Here is a quick glance of my hike that day:

Date of Hike: February 26th, 2019

Miles Hiked: 5.1

Trail Conditions: Muddy and Slushy

After getting done with work at 1 PM, I headed straight for the parking lot of Matthews/ Winters Park which is a park within the Jefferson County Open Space Trail System. Before long, I was soon beginning my hike down the short Village Walk trail which led me onto the Red Rocks Trail.

Great view of the surrounding area.

As the trail meanders for a little bit, the views of neighboring Dinosaur Ridge start to become better.

Red Rocks Trail with Dinosaur Ridge in the distance.

Because I hiked this as a loop, I then began to head up the Morrison Slide Trail once I finally reached that intersection. This portion of my hike was more of the slushy variety due to the fact that the elevation increases drastically. This part was probably my favorite because you are going up the hillside with multiple switchbacks and go through some areas that have trees. Not to mention that the views are pretty nice once you reach the top!

The intersection of the Red Rocks Trail and the Morrison Slide Trail.
Getting closer to the top with each step!
A section with rocks on each side of the trail.

From a certain vantage point, you can see Golden to the north while Red Rocks Amphitheatre is directly to the south.

Looking towards the south.
A side view of Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Looking back to the north in the direction that I hiked the trail from.

As I was hiking back down into the valley below, it was tempting to keep hiking further to the south for several more miles. However, the sun was beginning to fade away further behind the mountains which made me think twice about what I was doing. And before long, I was headed back onto the Red Rocks Trail and enjoying what was left of the daylight hours as I made my way back to the parking lot.

Coming back down the Morrison Slide Trail and rejoining the Red Rocks Trail.
Looking up towards the rocks and just standing here in awe of nature.

Although I enjoyed this hike, one significant downfall should also be noted. The noise from the traffic on surrounding roads such as Interstate 70 and Colorado 470 somewhat detract from the experience. This was to be expected though as the park itself is quite accessible from Denver. With that being said, hiking through Matthews/ Winters Park was a great place to get away from it all as I only saw several other people on a weekday afternoon.

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