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  • Writer's pictureKyrby Brown

Day Twenty Three: A Tale of Two Trails

Updated: May 15

Today we ventured to two different regional parks, one of which had been recommended to me over Facebook - thank you to the Lady who wrote the comment!

The first park was Bear Creek which was much more like the parks you find at home. It had playing fields, a play area and a dog park at its base and led up to various trails. They offer Terrainhopper hire here, but I seems you have to use what is a rather complicated system to book it around a month or so in advance. We took the rattlesnake trail up to a viewpoint, it was rather steep with loose gravel which made it tricky so we decided to head back. The wayfinding in this location was particularly poor and the more urban setting meant that it lacked the sense of adventure we had become accustomed to.

So we decided to head off to the Ute Valley Regional Trail, and it couldn’t have been more different!

This trail starts from a small parking lot and runs around 6km around the edge of the Ute valley. Due to using some of my battery earlier in the day we couldn’t complete the loop but the parts we did manage were pretty impressive.

The trail itself is comprised of the same stone dust paths we have seen across Colorado (fun fact: did you know that Colorado is Spanish for Coloured Red? Named by Spanish Pioneers for its Iron rich red rocks). These paths are extremely well maintained and very wide, there were some steeper gradients but nothing that my chair struggled with. This route completely encapsulated adventure, early on we saw what appeared to be bear tracks, and from that moment forward we might as well have been in Jurassic Park!

The path followed the woods through to open grassland areas and natural viewpoints looking at the mountains beyond. Despite the smooth paved trail, we were on the constant lookout for wildlife, including bears and rattlesnakes. We didn’t see either but evidence of their existence was all around, and that was both exciting and terrifying! We did see what we believed to be some form of wildcat on the adjacent rocks, unfortunately it moved too fast and was too far away to get a picture. We saw very few other humans (only 3 or 4) along the route, which contributed massively to the sense of exploration and caution.

This hike was a reminder that these trails are 100% wild, with many inhabitants that could do you harm in the wrong circumstances. It was a reminder to remain alert and to respect the home of the Colorado’s wildlife. The fact I could experience this in my wheelchair with no barriers, distractions or controls is absolutely amazing. If I could bottle the sense of wonder, adrenaline and pure enjoyment I would be a millionaire. I couldn’t help but think how cool it would be to explore such a trail on my Frame Runner, no motors or batteries, it would be superb.

Image Description: Me sitting in my wheelchair at the trailhead with treetops behind me and a snowy mountain in the distance.

Tomorrow is our last full day in the beautiful State. I certainly plan on returning now I know how much it has to offer. It has been our most hospitable and accessible environment yet, despite the Rocky Mountain surrounding us. It just goes to show that anywhere can be made accessible with a little ingenuity and a willing attitude. If it can be done here then it can certainly be done at home!

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