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Our staff, editors, and colleagues here at Triathlete and at our parent company, Pocket Outdoor Media, spend a lot of time running, biking, swimming—and hiking, lifting, doing yoga, backpacking, or just getting outside. And we know what we like (and what we don’t). This week, we also asked our colleagues at National Park Trips what they’re loving right now, since they’re the experts on the outdoors and parks. Here’s what they had to say.
South Boulder Peak
With a blanket of cold sitting over Colorado this winter, I have rediscovered hiking in the hills of Boulder with friends. It’s been a great way to get outside, get a fantastic workout, and chase cabin fever away. Last weekend, I hiked South Boulder Peak in Chautauqua, which took four hours round-trip to cover about eight miles. The South Mesa Trailhead and parking lot are more crowded than ever because of so many people wanting to get outside during the pandemic. But I’ve discovered a secret place to park in the neighborhood just east of the trailhead. Even better, this is the highest of Boulder’s five skyline peaks at 8,549 feet, but it gets none of the traffic that the more popular Green and Bear peaks get.
Despite the number of people at the trailhead, we only saw a handful of people after we walked a mile down the trail. And that was a huge relief in this COVID world we inhabit now. Along the way to the summit, we walked through a short section of open grasslands and then up large rocky steps through a thick ponderosa pine forest. It’s the kind of deep, quiet forest that makes me think of mountain lions and how I probably would freak myself out if I was on the trail alone. But I was with friends, and we were too busy swapping stories and sweating up the steep sections to think about much else. There’s a little bit of fun rock scrambling in the last stretch to the peak, but once you are at the top, the views of the snow-capped Continental Divide are absolutely gorgeous.
– Tori Peglar, content and brand director, National Park Trips
Camelbak Podium Water Bottle
It seems like finding a basic, quality water bottle should be easy enough. But I know I’m not alone in the struggle to find one that I’d consider ordering more than once. I’ve tried almost every option out there and most of them are just…fine. A few months ago I ordered this Camelbak Podium water bottle and I’ve finally found one that I will use (and reorder!) over and over again. There’s no plastic taste, the self-sealing valve works great, the wide opening means it’s easy to fill, and the nozzle (and the overall bottle) is easy to clean. I’m getting ready to order a few more (they’re only $11!), and I’m excited to try the insulated version (pricier at $26) once summer hits.
– Liz Hichens, senior digital editor
Saucony Peregrine 11
I am generally someone who loves a good pair of trail shoes—especially when I’m on super steep/technical trails. The hard reality is that so much trail running can easily be done with road shoes, and while many trail shoes are good in lots of different situations, some excel in very specific conditions. I’ve loved running in mud with Salomon’s Speedcross 5 shoes, as their deep, widely spaced lugs get into and out of mud super well, shedding as they go. But here in mostly sunny Southern California, the majority of the trails near me are severely steep and perilously loose. While my trail runners of choice for all-around conditions are the oft-mentioned (and impossible to find) Under Armour HOVR Offroads, I have a new love when it comes to super steep up and downhills with dry, slippery, and loose rocks/dirt/sand—Saucony’s updated Peregrine 11. The Peregrine is a relatively lightweight and responsive 4mm offset trail shoe with a tight, sharp, and incredibly soft chevron-dotted outsole. I’ve done runs in these shoes that would normally require careful downhill zigging and zagging but instead just blasted ahead with supreme confidence in traction. While their durability may be a question mark—given the softness and thinness of the outsole’s treads—I’m super happy with them right now.
– Chris Foster, senior editor