Hewlett Gulch has a special place in my heart. Five and a half years ago when I got back into mountain biking, I spent a summer with just my pup learning how to climb and descend technical trails. Hewlett was our regular tromping grounds. And by the end of the summer, the trail was easy peasy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the trails around Fort Collins, but dogs aren’t allowed off leash. And something about heading up the Poudre Canyon makes you feel more in the mountains than just the foothills.
Last time I was in the Poudre Canyon I ran down it in the Equinox Half Marathon. That half marathon as well as the 40 in the Fort Mountain Bike race were both postponed due to the fires this summer. Although the devastation was apparent on the west side of the canyon, while running the Equinox, I hadn’t thought that the fire had skipped over the river to the other east side-the side with the Hewlett Gulch Trailhead.
However, I neglected to remember a small fire that happened before the big ones up Hewlett Gulch. To say it was charred was an understatement. We biked past the fire line, heard rock slides in the distances, and the dogs caught whiff of dead animals. We had charcoal on our arms and legs-remenants of the tree branches that poked us while riding by.
I also had not been to Hewlett’s since they added the lollipop loop at the top. Before, it was mainly an out and back-unles you felt like braving a steep, rocky hike a bike that was almost unrideable. The new loop is fantastic. We rode it counter clockwise. Lots of climbing and descending into an open meadow. The somemore flowy hairpin steep turn descending. It was won of those rides where I just could not stop smiling! It took us about 2 hours with stops for the dogs and to go by others because the trail was crowded.
I’m not sure if it is my new bike, strength training twice a week, or both, but I felt stronger than ever climbing. I might have to say that Hewlett is a new favorite trail all over again!
What fun adventures did you go on this weekend?