Stepping Out in Routt: A walk in the woods

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If you go

Length: 3 miles round trip (60 minutes)

Difficulty: Moderate

Grade: Moderate to steep hill

Surface: Gravel trail

Start: Trailhead parking lot on Steamboat Boulevard between Aspenwood Drive and Clearwater Lane

Parking: At the trailhead

Stay hydrated

Most of the body’s weight is water, so when exercising and sweating, it’s important to replace lost fluids. Steamboat’s altitude can cause you to lose fluids faster than in the lowlands because of higher rates of evaporation, perspiration and exhalation.

Dehydration occurs when more water leaves the body than is taken in. Signs of dehydration can include dry mouth, muscle cramps, nausea, lightheadedness, decreased urine output, or lack of sweating. Stay hydrated by:

■ Drinking water throughout the day, not just before you walk.

■ Taking small sips of water throughout your walk.

■ Having a glass or two of water after your walk.

■ Keeping water bottles handy to avoid the temptation of soda or caffeinated beverages, which contribute to calories and dehydration.

■ Adding lime, lemon or orange slices to enhance water’s flavor so you’ll drink more.

For walks of 90 minutes or less, the best fluid to drink is water. Consider water in combination with sports drinks (made of water, carbohydrates and the electrolytes sodium and potassium) if you exercise at high intensity for more than 90 minutes.

This week enjoy a tranquil walk through the woods from Fish Creek to the Rollingstone Ranch Golf Clubhouse and back.

From the parking lot on Steamboat Boulevard, take either singletrack trail to the main gravel trail and turn right. The trail travels along Fish Creek for a short distance before turning right and weaving its way uphill through the forest and behind private homes. This area used to be densely vegetated with pine trees, but you now will see a sparse forest with stumps.

While a part of the natural cycle, hot dry summers and mild winters caused the mountain pine beetle to flourish and kill many more trees than the bug normally effects. As a result, homeowners removed dead or dying trees to reduce hazards from fire and falling trees. The clearings now provide great views of Howelsen Hill and Sleeping Giant.

After about 1.2 miles you will see a boulder outcrop on your right and notice that beyond here the trail slopes downhill. Continue on this main trail another 0.3 miles to the Rollingstone Ranch Golf Clubhouse. Bring money if you want to stop in for a drink and healthy snack.

Turn around and head back the same way you came to return to your car. If the hills seem harder on the way back, it’s because they are. The return climb is actually a bit steeper. Just past the house with the green roof, you will spot the boulder outcrop. From here,m the trail rolls downhill to the trailhead where you started.

Janet Hruby writes Stepping Out in Routt on behalf of LiveWell Northwest Colorado.

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