First Snowshoe Hike of the Season!

Because of an avalanche of deadlines and obligations (so, what else is new?) I never managed to go out snowshoeing a single time last winter. I love to get out in the mountains in the pristine white silence and trudge along the snowshoe or cross-country ski trails and dictate new chapters. It’s hiking in the snow!  I was determined not to let this winter go by without a snowshoe trip, so I cleared my schedule last Saturday, got my notes ready for three more chapters in CLOCKWORK LIVES, winter gear…now, all I needed to do was find some SNOW.

We’ve had a very warm fall in Colorado, not much snow even on 14,000 ft Pikes Peak nearby. But I checked out some other likely spots in the Rocky Mountains, using traffic cams on the highways, until I found Vail Pass (10,662 ft)—with plenty of snow and several nice snowshoe, ski, and snowmobile trails.  I chose a nice, quiet, 5 mile loop that (according to the guidebook) gets little traffic, and headed out for the two-hour drive and the snow.

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At the trailhead parking area on the pass summit, I got my snow pants on, jacket, gloves, backpack, then trudged to the start of the trail, where I put on my snowshoes…which are like giant flip-flops that keep you, for the most part, on top of the snow.  The trail started steeply and I climbed up to the top of a ridge, following a well-traveled trail that had been used by other skiers and snowshoers.  I even found a large group of skiers who were taking a lunch break.

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But the main trail headed one direction, my loop took me down into the valley, where I had all the snow to myself. Utterly pristine, no other tracks (except for a coyote).  I broke trail, following the drainage and relying on my sense of direction to get all the way around the loop and back up to the parking area.

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I left a nice trail for others to follow—and I dictated two complete chapters in CLOCKWORK LIVES, and another one on the drive home.  Great temperature, breathtaking scenery, wonderful exercise…and I think the writing was good, too.  A great day—and I hope to do it more often this winter.

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Don’t forget to order your 2015 Tales from the Trails calendar with more of my hiking photos and stories! See the link above, top left of the blog page.

2015 calendar and TFTT

 

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