Things may change in the future, but living a balanced lifestyle in 2019 requires planning and creativity. We have a culture that is out of balance. Most jobs now involve sitting in front of a computer, sometimes for more than the standard 40 hours a week. Some of them involve spending nearly all of that time alone. Technology has increased the amount of time we spend alone outside of work, and our mainstream culture still places a relatively low value on social life and connecting with one another. This has taken its toll on our physical and mental health.
Many are starting to re-think our values and priorities, particularly those younger than me. However, our culture is not going to change overnight. To cope with our culture in its current state, I believe we must take every opportunity we can to participate in activities where we are not alone, indoors and seated. This includes rearranging schedules, additional thought and planning, and even doing things that make us uncomfortable and activities that don’t make logical sense. It is worth it.
Luckily for those that live in Colorado, it is easy to squeeze in a quick hike before or after work. During the hottest part of the year, a pre-work hike is very much preferable.
High Temperatures Thursday July 18th
On Wednesday, July 17th, the official morning low temperature at Denver International Airport was 72ºF (22ºC). Later that day, the high would reach 97ºF (36ºC).
Finding a hike that would take roughly 90 minutes close to Boulder is not too much of a challenge. The Hogback Ridge Trail can be accessed from the Foothills Trailhead right off of highway 36 at the far north end of town.
The 2.8 mile loop begins with a tunnel under the highway. The difficulty level of the hike is quite moderate most of the way.
The first thing I noticed was an interesting perspective of the Flatirons to the South with the morning sun shining directly on them in the distance.
The trail winds around a bit, offering several great places to overlook town.
I have alway loved overlooking towns from above in places like this. Whenever I encounter a view like this one, I feel like I am backing up, getting out of the nitty gritty of day-to-day life and looking at humanity from a broader perspective. It feels clarifying to overlook the rhythm of life, especially at a time like this when many are on their morning commutes.
Getting to the top of the trail is somewhat of a mini-scramble, which is always fun.
This trail is supposed to offer interesting views of the mountains to the West, but for some reason I was fixated on looking back into town, and to other nearby features.
It’s almost like the focus of this hike was less about exploration and more about getting better balance and perspective on my day-to-day life, which involves looking East into town rather than West into the rugged mountains.
We would all benefit from spending a bit of time outdoors, moving and socializing in the middle of the week, regardless of our situations.
Going for a hike in the morning in Boulder is relatively easy. The only way it could make anyone uncomfortable would be if either of us were worried about being a few minutes late into the office.
Two days later, I would take part in an activity that actually did cause discomfort and made no logical sense: Tube to Work Day.
On this day, something like 1000 people all grabbed tubes and rode them on a 3/4 mile stretch of Boulder Creek. Many, like myself, neither live nor work along the creek. There were even people there who did not technically have a job taking part in the event. Riding in this tube required going quite a distance out of my way, getting rides to and from the creek and having a change of clothing with me. Seriously, there was nothing logical or convenient about any of this. It was pure absurdity!
My tube slid out from underneath me, causing me some physical pain. I hit a rock hard with my knee, which lead to a major bruise that disrupted my weekend. Six years from now, I will remember having taken part in Tube to Work Day. Those that didn’t will probably not remember the fact that they got to work on time for the 12th day in a row or didn’t unnecessarily lose sleep in the morning.
I feel it is inevitable that our culture will shift in a manner that places greater emphasis on sharing experiences with others and having time to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Until then, I plan to continue to find ways to rearrange my schedule, factoring weather patterns as well as other people’s schedules, to get as balanced of a life as I can.