IGES Employees Take a Hike
June 22, 2012
Written by Laura Delgado López
While most bosses may take their employees to lunch during a business trip, mine had different plans in mind when we found ourselves in Boulder, Colo. last week: “Grab a bottle of water,” said IGES President Nancy Colleton, “we are hiking up Mount Sanitas.”
Mount Sanitas may have meant little to me at that point but natives to Boulder know the mountain well. Just overshadowing a residential area next to the small shops and restaurants on busy Pearl street, it sits in the foothills of Colorado’s Rocky mountains. For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts in the region, it is just one of multiple options to explore.
According to the Boulder government website “Mount Sanitas Trail is a moderate to difficult trail which meanders both sides of the ridge leading to the summit of Mount Sanitas.” For someone who grew up on an island and had never gone hiking before, the steep incline and the rocks as high as my waist that that we climbed didn’t seem all that “moderate.” Yet I found I was enjoying myself very quickly. Out of breath and glad I had indeed brought a water bottle along to ward off the heat, I could not but stop to marvel at the landscape, the silence of the mountain, the wildflowers, birds, and majestic views. To my right, the plains with Boulder and Denver in plain view, to my left and in the distance, mountains capped with snow, defying the heat of the sun on our backs.
Water breaks would allow us to exchange a few words with others who had come out either by themselves, with friends, or with their dogs to enjoy the warm weather and the clear view of the landscape. Most looked right at home, their sure steps evidence that they frequented the trail. If getting used to the altitude (for those of us that live down at sea level) was a good reason to go slow, a Boulder native gave us a better one: “Make sure you enjoy it,” he said as he walked away at a quick pace, “see you at the top!”
And we did. After climbing to 6,800 feet above sea level to the Mount Sanitas Summit and negotiating car-sized boulders on our way down, the 3 mile trek had tired, but invigorated us. The personal accomplishment of doing something new and challenging like this matched the opportunity to get up-close and personal (the grit on my shoes attests to that) to a landscape completely different than what I am used to. And more than that; Colleton turned to me and said simply “this is why we do what we do.” I had to agree: observing the landscape, gaining a new perspective, and seeing the geology and biodiversity up close, inspire one to better understand the Earth and to seek to ensure that we can continue to enjoy sunny afternoons in the foothills of Boulder and beyond.
Top right: View from Mount Sanitas trail. Left: IGES’ Laura Delgado López.