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Friday, June 12, 2009

Overland Park Arboretum

So I'm in the middle of this nature kick - prepping for my cornerstone event for the summer, camping in Colorado. The capstone will be reaching the summit of Mt. Harvard, some 14K+ feet above sea level. Apparently, such a hike is actually quite challenging and dangerous, as the air starts becoming hazardously thin above 10,000 feet. We're actually going to be STARTING just under that thin limit. Yikes!

Mt. Harvard. 3rd tallest mountain in Colorado. ~13 miles to hike, roundtrip. Almost a mile in elevation change! Sounds almost as hard as actually getting into Harvard! Some more stats can be found here:

Now, the more I read about conquering 14Kers, the more nervous I get. Weather plays a tremendous part in the success of the hike. So does being fit and mentally prepared for the long-ass trek from trailhead to peak and back. Will we have enough water? Will we be acclimated to the altitude? Will the packs be light enough with all that we need? What if an emergency occurs? Will I actually get a ride down in a helicopter, finally? ;-)

I can't worry about everything. But I can make sure I can shoulder my own load. So I loved the suggestion from Kel to hit up the OP Arboretum. It's gorgeous! Kelly, Tara and I started out taking the hilly and slick-from-rain southern most trails and it almost felt like I was back in Yosemite or in some South American rainforest. I could've done without the off-road vehicles making deep tracks in the trail, but the air felt clean, the trees vibrant, the woods silent, and the walk tranquil. There were little brooks and streams throughout the trail, yellow monarch butterflies and black dragonflies humming all around, and there were little signs of wildlife - no bears yet, though! ;-)

After Tara had to leave, Kelly and I hit up the more garden-y parts. There were quite some stunning displays of flowers, but what really got me were the, well, rather creative pieces of art. The most odd was some liberty taken on dressing up a crow with a purple pointed hat on some yellow box and just looked like the artist just dropped wayyyyy too much acid. And then there was the SPIDER!!!!!! Why people would want to glorify such a ignoble insect through art remains beyond me.

Overall, yesterday was a great day. I definitely do want to take another walk through the forest from the other direction, perhaps when it's a little drier. But I think that in all of KC, it's now my favorite place to take a walk.

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