A Bit of Snowshoeing

Moving right along with the clean-up of the shots piled up on my phone, that brings us up to Christmas 2015 and some shots from a snowshoeing adventure up in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Snowshoeing is something I never tried until we moved to Colorado a couple of years ago.  My husband took me out with a guide to try it out and I immediately fell in love!  It wasn’t long after that trip that I suddenly owned my own pair of snowshoes.  Just too bad it was the end of the season and I only got to use them once!

This past winter was going to be my chance to dive in and really break in my new snowshoes and hang out in the snow.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate.  Most weekdays – while we were stuck at work for our “day jobs” – the weather was awesome.  Fresh snow, little wind, decent temperatures.  The weekends were another issue all together… storms rolling through, bringing with them lots of wind, biting windchills, and gobs of snow making navigating our way to and through the Park a little tricky.  Figures, right?

So yes, we were a tad wimpy when it came to wanting to avoid the wind and the travel headaches.  That meant we didn’t get out nearly as much as we had hoped.  The first time weather and time off lined up was just 2 days after Christmas – with fresh snow and “little” wind t’boot!

We chose to snowshoe up part of the Flattop Mountain trail at Rocky Mountain National Park because we know the trail, there’s plenty to see, and the lower parts of it are pretty sheltered by trees.  (We live only an hour from the Park, so that’s usually our go-to for snowshoeing because it keeps us out of miserable winter skiing traffic heading into the high country out west and gives us more time to play.)

With the snow that had fallen the day before, it was a winter wonderland.  Amazingly picturesque no matter which direction you looked.  The only complication was the wind picking up (not in the forecast… typical mountain weather!) and we were “bombed” by clumps of snow being tossed off of the pines.  No matter – it’s dry and fluffy snow, so it wasn’t like being pelted with chunks of wet, packed, ice-laden snow like we often get back on the East Coast.

The Trail Ahead
The Trail Ahead

We tooled around in the woods for a few hours, working up quite a sweat and an appetite.  (Showshoeing is an excellent workout, said to burn around 1200 calories an hour!)  We went a couple of miles up the trail until we found a nice sheltered spot in the woods an plunked ourselves down in the snow for a spot of lunch before heading back down.  I simply love being out in the snow, and I think my husband captured my utter glee quite well…

Me in Snowshoeing Glee
Me in Snowshoeing Glee

Once we got ourselves back down to Bear Lake, we popped out into one of the openings along the shoreline to check out the view.  It’s always so gorgeous at Bear Lake – unless the clouds move in and hide the mountains, of course!  That wasn’t the case for us that day.  It was quite spectacular and we quickly saw that we made the right decision to turn around when we did because the wind was only getting worse up high.

Windy Bear Lake Winter
Windy Bear Lake Winter

(That’s not clouds coming in over the mountains – that’s wind-driven snow being blown uphill and over the peaks from the western slopes!)

It’s only October now, but we’re already getting our hopes high and committing to getting out more this winter.  It may seem odd to be thinking about snow during the fall, but up at the higher elevations, it’s already snowing a little and winter will be going full-force within a month.  With a good storm or two, who knows?  Maybe we can break out the snowshoes again sooner than we thought!  (Fingers crossed!)

-JC

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