Sunday, January 9, 2011

Yay, Winter!

My lovely, talented, and thoughtful wife got me a pair of snowshoes for Yule this year.  I've been talking about wanting to go snowshoeing since the Autumn, but I was somehow still surprised when I opened the box.  This weekend turned out to be my first chance to get out and use them.

Yesterday, the kids and I stopped by REI to pick up some trekking poles, or "sports canes," as I've always liked to think of them.  (Then we headed to the National Western Stock Show to look at alpacas, llamas, chickens, rabbits, and so forth.)

This morning I woke to some pretty good snowfall down here in the lower elevations.  I headed out to Allenspark, Colorado, around 7:30, and the roads were nasty.  No sooner had I started to think that maybe driving in those conditions wasn't the best idea than I saw an older lady out for a run along Highway 66.  So my misgivings were immediately replaced by thoughts of what a strange and sometimes wonderful place Boulder county can be.

It's funny, being such a small place, that I apparently can't find my way around Allenspark.  I had intended to go to the trailhead and hike toward Pear Reservoir.  So I drove around until I found a place where folks were unpacking skis from their SUVs and assumed I had come to the right place.  It turns out to have been Rock Creek trail, but I was well on my way before I figured out that I was in the wrong place.  It wasn't until I got home that I figured out exactly where I had been.

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I was also a good way down the trail before I discovered that I had lost my water bottle, so the thermos of vegetable soup in my backpack was the only source of hydration I had with me.  Had it come down to it, I could have found a way to melt some snow to drink, but things worked out okay without that.

After nearly 2 hours, I was really close to the summit of the trail.  But since I didn't know where I was, I didn't know how far the trail would leave me.  And I didn't want to push my luck with the water situation, so I turned around and headed back down the way I came.  After returning to my vehicle, I found my water bottle off the road a little way where I'd relieved myself of the coffee I drank on my way there.  It wasn't even frozen all the way, so I got to rehydrate on my way home.

This was just my second time snowshoeing, the first being on a guided tour on groomed trails at Winterpark.  So I think I learned a lot, got a great workout, and found something to get me out in the woods as often as I can manage for the rest of the winter.

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