Niwot Mountain & Niwot Ridge

I like getting up on the tundra this time of year. Normally there would be more snow and wildflowers.  Niwot mountain is a relatively quick (less than 1 hour) hike up from near Lefthand Reservoir.  Niwot is named after a native Indian chief of the Arapaho. His nickname was Left Hand, probably for obvious reasons.

Lefthand Reservoir and Mount Audubon from Niwot Mountain (11,400 elevation)

Mount Audubon, in the photo above, is a thirteener, meaning it’s summit is over 13,000 feet in elevation.  I know I’ve attempted the summit a couple of times, decades ago.  I don’t remember ever making all of the way up.  It’s a long hike with a 3,000 foot elevation gain.  I’d like to attempt it again this year and cement a yay or nay into my memory.  I think if I could stop injuring myself, I’d be in good enough shape to accomplish it.

Some type of shrine/memorial at the top of Niwot

I have mixed feelings when I discover shrines or memorials in conspicuous places along trails or on top of mountains.  They’re interesting to look at, but they are selfish when placed at such a public point.  There are so many corners of the forests or on the sides of mountains that would be more appropriate.  But claiming a major mountain top as your own is simply self-centered.



I hiked up to Pawnee Pass (elevation 12,700 ft.) this week.  The tundra above tree-line is entering its autumnal phase of dark reds and browns.  Coupled with the rocky aspect of the area, things were not looking very verdant. It was a cool 55 degrees up on the pass.

Niwot Ridge above treeline. The gold colors are a harbinger of autumn.

It’s seems like every year at this time, I become a little bit manic, oscillating between angsty elation and quiet introspection.  The volume control on my dreams is cranked way up. I need some quiet inside my head.

Mother Ptarmigan keeping an eye on me and her three chicks that are nearby. In the winter she will turn all white.

I have a big birthday that ends with a ‘0’ coming up. I know it’s just a number, but I’m starting to feel a generational gap. I used to feel that pretty much anybody over the age of 20 was still in “my group”.  Perhaps being single makes me more delusional in that regard.   These days I’m starting to feel there is a more of a boundary to the lower end of “my group.”

At the top, Lefthand Reservoir. Below that is Long Lake. Unnamed lake at the bottom.

I’m okay with that. It’s just a bit of perspective shift. The views of life from up on the pass were great!