In 1898, residents of Boulder, CO had the foresight to preserve Chautauqua Meadow at the base of the Flatirons. Over 100 years later, and now known as the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark, the park still provides a great outdoor experience. Despite 54,554 participants in the Bolder Boulder 10K run on Memorial Day, the drive to Boulder and and park access were surprisingly manageable.
The parking lot can be found by traveling west on Baseline road. With 140 miles of trails in the park, all degrees of difficulty are available. As my second hike since the cycling injury last September, we chose an a 2 1/2 miles route asceding about 1,000 ft.
Made of conglomerate sandstone, the Flatirons were raised during a mountain building period about 80 to 35 million years ago. They are thought to be named for the flat clothing irons used in pioneer America (Boulder was incorporated in 1871).
Walking sticks, also called trekking poles, unload the knees. As noted at Slackpacker.com, they "reduces the pressure strain on the opposite leg by approximately 20%" and "reduce the body weight carried by the legs by approximately 5 kg" on level ground and by 8 kg on an incline.
If you are in the area, Chautauqua park is a great place for a morning hike. Afterward, head to Pearl Street and have lunch at one of the many small restaurants.