Hiking with Less Impact

This past spring break I had the opportunity to visit a friend who attends the University of Colorado in Boulder. Boulder is even more of a picturesque city than I could have imagined and offered everything a hiking fanatic like me could want. Even the weather was perfect- almost 68 degrees- and although the mountaintops were still covered in snow most of the trails up were clear.

I arrived Friday night and the next morning we woke up early, packed our backpacks with a few liters of water and some sandwiches, and set off for Chautauqua Park at the base of the Flatirons.

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The Flatirons are gorgeous sandstone formations that millions of years ago were lifted, tilted, and over time eroded to form the unique and beautiful mountains that they are today. I would highly recommend hiking the Chautauqua trials if you ever make it to Boulder, and if you’re even more daring, bring your ropes and carabiners to scale one of the Flatiron’s faces like these rock climbers here:

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With the sun streaming through the tree-lined trail, we were blissful hikers, and made multiple stops to take pictures of the countless breathtaking views along the way. Once we reached the upper third, however, the trail became totally shaded and we started to see slush, and then ice, in our way. One of the scariest moments of my life occurred on this mountain, when the trail became so slick that my friend and I both slid to the edge of the switchback and had to grab onto uprooted tree roots to keep ourselves from tumbling down the side of the mountain. From that point on we were very careful, and with the encouragement of the other hikers above us we finally made it to the top.

Here is the spectacular view:

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I wanted to write about my trip not only to share my experience with fellow nature-lovers, but also because it relates to something I found while shopping online for new hiking boots after I came back.

Many brand-name manufacturers like Timberland, Patagonia, and Garmont, create eco-friendly, organic hiking boots made completely from sustainable materials. It’s the ultimate “wear what you are” for the environmentally conscious, the epitome of going green!

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One example is the Timberland Earthkeepers, which are made from 100% recycled PET lining made from recycled plastic bottles and Green Rubber soles made from 42% recycled rubber. Timberland also recycles the boots when they are no longer useful, so customers can return their boots when they are worm out and the company will take them apart and recycle the soles and linings to produce a new pair.

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The initial cost of these boots may be more than your typical hiking boot but I think the quality and low impact of environmentally friendly boots is worth it and I plan to get a pair for myself!

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xoxo

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