hiking mondays: eldorado canyon (before the flood) + the hike that didn't happen

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the gift of gab. I’m loquacious, a chatterbox of sorts, a natural schmoozer, and even my first grade progress report read something like, “Batya will go far in life, if she just stops talking so much.” This particular character trait wasn’t terribly helpful during my high school years (it’s hard to concentrate on chemistry when there’s so much else to talk about), but it’s served me well as a relatively new transplant to Denver.
I talk to people wherever I go, and if I happen to stumble upon someone who’s native to this town, or someone who’s been living here for a long time, I always ask him or her about their favorite places to hike because I've found that these people know where to go... 

A few Saturdays ago we took the boys to Cranmer Park, which has some pretty spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains- especially at sunset. There I met a grandmother named Mary and we started up a conversation. She told me about Denver's past, her parent’s peach orchard near Grand Junction, her favorite swimming holes, and her favorite hikes - including the "4th of July" trail near Eldora. 
The hike got its name because typically you aren’t able to get to the trail head before the first week of July, thanks in large part to the high elevation and late snows which are common in the area. But once the snow melts and the dirt road is passable, this hike becomes very popular because of its spectacular waterfalls and majestic views. 
I knew we were heading to the mountains... 
I did a bit of research and found a blog that said the trail is gorgeous and "you don’t need an SUV to get there!" Being the proud Prius owners that we are, we were looking forward to getting into the mountains with the sort-of promise that we would be able to make it. Can you see where this is going?
We piled into the car and set out in the direction of Eldora, which is a bit past Nederland, which is a bit past Boulder. The paved road ended and then the dirt road began. After about 15 minutes of driving I started having flashbacks to the time when I got two flat tires near Mt. Adams in Oregon. And then I began to panic when our wheels started skidding and we saw a deep ravine up ahead (that I thought we'd get stuck in). Knowing that our car just wasn't gonna make it, we decided to turn around...
Anyway, this is a long-winded story about why I'm not sharing the "4th of July" hiking photos with you. I will at some point - but maybe after we rent an SUV for the day and regroup a bit. In the meantime I found these photos from Eldorado Canyon (an amazing state park close to Boulder) that I hiked with my friend Tina, her daughter and my boys about a month ago.

We took the Fowler trail and passed lots of rock climbers (look closely and you’ll see them). And after the hike we walked down to the mountain-fed river, which was really cold and turned out to be the perfect place to chill our watermelon.
Last week Colorado got a season's worth of rain in just a few days. There's been unprecedented and historic flooding in and around the Boulder area, as well as other parts of Colorado. My heart goes out to those who have been impacted by the storms. 
This post was scheduled to be published before the flooding, and upon checking out the current state of the area I discovered that the park has been closed indefinitely due to unsafe conditions. 
If you’re inclined to help out flood victims, here are some resources that you may find useful. I decided to post this hike anyway because Eldorado Canyon is a beautiful place and it's worth seeing what it looked like before the storms.
Wishing you happy trails and drier days ahead…