What a glorious coincidence that National Trails Day is directly preceded by National Do(ugh)nut Day! The idea of burning all those calories on a Saturday hike seemed a perfect excuse to indulge in a doughnut or two on Friday.
OK, so I had four. Donut Day comes but once a year. I love doughnuts like I’m a fat, 10-year-old, burgeoning bully and future cop discovering them for the first time.
It was the poet May Swenson who observed in “How to Be Old”:
Youth is given. One must put it away
like a doll in a closet,
take it out and play with it only
on holidays. …
This is why I get excited for manufactured holidays like Donut Day and Trails Day. They present an opportunity to indulge in things like eating fried carbohydrates and getting dirty without fear of judgment.
There would be filth aplenty on pretty much any Trails Day 2015 outing in Colorado. Mother Nature, likely suffering from a man-made form of environmental Alzheimer’s, has seemingly mistaken us for Portland or London or Seattle for the past month and shows no signs of recognizing Colorado as home to 300 days of sunshine per year.
But the dogs don’t care about rain or that I have to apologize for the car’s dank odor for the two months following the presence of clammy canines. Besides, outdoor wanderings have been few amid the stress and long hours that often accompany a new job. So we embraced the damp day and set off for the Gore Range Trail in the curiously un-apostrophed Eagles Nest Wilderness Area of the White River National Forest.
We’ve encountered intersections with the Gore Range Trail on previous hikes, including on an adventure to Eccles Pass, but never hiked a segment of the trail itself. The Gore Range is one of Colorado’s underappreciated gems (it lacks 14ers and thus, to many, credibility). The ridgelines above the rich forests and wildflower-filled meadows offer some of the best—if not the most altitudinous—views in the state.
Despite its proximity to Copper Mountain and Interstate 70, the Gore Range Trail receives relatively light use. It was vacant on this soggy Trails Day. We wound upward along a muddy trail, through stands of budding aspen, along a boisterous creek fueled by runoff and nonstop rain. Eventually, deep, lingering snowpack forced us back. We paused in a creekside clearing for a snack; I saved a doughnut for the occasion.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart.