May 30, 2015

Getting My Greens In On Green Mountain

For the last few days this week, I’ve been eagerly awaiting my Saturday morning plans to go hiking up Green Mountain. But when I woke up this morning after not-quite-enough sleep, the thought of hiking sounded terrible. I didn’t want to get out of bed just yet, but I had brunch plans with a friend at 12:30pm. Green Mountain is supposed to take 3-4 hours (and I am usually on the tail end for any hiking estimates of how long a route will take), so I needed to be on the trail by 7am in order to be assuredly done by 11:30am and have time to get home and clean up. Not enough time if I didn’t get going!

But I didn’t want to get up. So I stayed in bed and read for about half an hour… and then, magically, I really wanted to go hiking and didn’t want to put it off for a day. I decided that I could probably just quickly head up to the trailhead and either see how far I got, or potentially just head to brunch sweaty if I was cutting it close. Coloradans don’t mind, right?

Well, that turned out to be the best decision I could have possibly made, because I had an incredible time on my hike today. Despite the fact that Gregory Canyon, the original trailhead I planned to use, was closed, some quick Googling helped me figure out that I could take the Amphitheater Trail to Saddle Rock Trail. Thank goodness most Boulder-area trails have great cell service! Amphitheater to Saddle Rock would be about 1.2 miles and 1400 feet of elevation gain – which I knew from my experiences on Mount Sanitas would take me about an hour. From there, I’d have some beautiful views of Boulder… or I could keep going all the way up to Green Mountain from there to add another 1.6 miles and 1100 feet of gain. Not too different than the first, so I estimated that would be another hour. I liked that my hike would be split into two almost equal one hour parts that would each be similar in profile to my regular Sanitas hike; it felt super doable to do either just the first half or continue on to both, depending on how I was feeling

The views at Saddle Rock were incredible… but rather than encouraging me to say “okay, I saw it, that’s enough,” it inspired me to keep going. I wanted more of that!


One thing I really liked about this trail was that there wasn’t a lot of time spent deep in the woods – it kind of curved around and around the mountain so that I had views most of the way, but without feeling too exposed and like I might fall off. Also, perhaps because the main trailhead was closed, there didn’t seem to be too many people on the trail. Peace and beautiful views, just the way I like it!

Great views, but no fear of falling. Because I may love hiking but I’m still a wuss!

Even the summit didn’t turn out to have too many other people (at least, not for a popular and close-to-town trail like this). I probably only shared the summit area with two or three couples for the ten minutes or so that I was up there, and no one got in each other’s way. Viewsviewsviewsviewsviews!

The peak finder helps you identify all those gorgeous snow-capped mountains in the distance… how cool!

Usually I have some sort of power bar in my pack for a summit snack, but today I had thought ahead and packed something different. Honestly, when I am hiking, I frequently get kind of sick of trail mix, power bars, and all-the-carbs type foods and am just craving something fresh. Unfortunately, it isn’t too easy to bring a salad in your pack! But today, I had brought a bottle of Evolution Fresh Greens juice, which gave me the same fruit-and-veggie-packed feeling while also serving as the perfect pick me up.

Evolution Fresh Sweet Greens, atop Green Mountain. A match made in heaven.

I like that the Sweet Greens flavor only has 100 calories per bottle – so I’m not immediately drinking back all the calories I burned hiking. (We’ll save that for the bar after.) It was also really convenient to pick up the bottle at Starbucks while I was grabbing coffee on my way to the hike, and then just throw it in my pack. Plus, sometimes I don’t hydrate enough while I’m hiking, so I like that this gives me a little bit of sugar energy, plus nutrients, plus hydration.

I pretty much drank it all in one shot – so yummy and refreshing!

To be honest, when I packed my Evolution Fresh juice to take, I thought I would just try drinking it this one time, but then switch back to bars/other typical hiker food for future hikes. However, I actually loved having the drink rather than having to chew on a bar (especially when my mouth is usually pretty dry at the top). Although it’s totally atypical, I think I’m going to start bringing green juice with every time I hike. Great way to get my greens in!

On the way down the mountain, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my injured foot wasn’t bothering me at all – and in fact, it hasn’t hurt all day since either. (In contrast, on Wednesday, it was killing me on the ten minute walk in ballet flats from my car to my office – I think because I was on pavement.) Evidently my feet just like the trails better than the roads! I’ll take it 🙂 I even managed to do a little trail running when I was on some of the flatter parts of the descent.

I think this was one of my favorite parts of the hike – running through the wildflowers with the mountains ahead and the town at my feet! Might need to get this pic blown up and framed…

Instead of the podcasts I had listened to on the way up, I switched to a Rascal Flatts playlist on the way down, and the combo of the great music and the gorgeous views helped me make it down the mountain just 2 hours and 45 minutes after I started out from my car… so for once, I was ahead of the time estimate! I couldn’t believe it. I absolutely loved this hike and think it’s going to become my new favorite mid-length hike, overtaking Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak for that title. It was great to get to summit a peak and have gorgeous views, but still have the whole day ahead of me and not have the hike take all day. I sang along to the radio the whole way home, and then headed into my kitchen and then out onto the deck for one more green treat…

An Evolution Fresh Popsicle!

I frequently crave ice cream after a hike on a hot day, and today was no exception. But I was psyched to find that I could squeeze a few more greens into my day by instead making these popsicles in molds before I headed out in the morning, then enjoying one when I got home. Fifty calorie treat that also gives me some vitamins? Sweet! And much better for me than ice cream, no matter how much I might want it. With my friend Erika’s hot body challenge kicking off on Monday and forbidding us from eating any added sugar, this is in the running for a replacement frozen treat 🙂 And my Green Mountain hike? Definitely high on the list for ways to earn points for the exercise side of the challenge! I can’t wait to summit again soon.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Evolution Fresh for providing me with a gift card to pick up some bottles of their green juice, and some cool kitchen gadgets like the freezer mold I used to make those green juice pops. As always, all my opinions are my own and not dictated by sponsorships.


8 thoughts on “Getting My Greens In On Green Mountain”

  1. Green Mountain is my favorite Boulder hike too! I love that little peak map up there.
    Check out the Sky Terrain map for Boulder/Nederland. It’s a fun way to plot different hikes beyond the most popular routes (and also waterproof). One of the sales people at Boulder Running Company pointed me to that map when I moved here when I told them I love trail running. I actually carry the map with me in my UD pack while running so I can spontaneously plan my run based on how I’m feeling. I’ve also given directions to many lost people.

    1. Oh that sounds awesome! Although I have to admit that I might prefer to stay on the regular trails… I like knowing there are other people in case of emergency 🙂

  2. What a way to start your day! I’m enjoying reading about all the hiking you are getting to do in your new hometown. My hubbie and I love to vacation in Glacier and daydream about living where we could hike like that all the time. I’m glad you are making the most of it!

  3. Every single time I see that green popsicle picture it leaves me speechless. I want to say in a good way, buuuuuuuttt…….. Nope.

    Green mountain is still one of my most favorite hikes that we’ve been on. The various options up / down keep it interesting and keep me (or maybe both of us?) guessing on where we’ll end up when we get to the bottom.

    That said, hopefully when we get to the bottom, there wasn’t one of those green popsicles waiting for me.

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