I’ve decided I like being one of those weird people who enjoy running in the snow. Sometimes it’s more like “running” but, who cares, snow is fun! If you throw on the right layers you will not freeze to death and gaiters were invented for haphazard veering into snow banks, right?! I fully understand that not everyone feels this way about the snow but it sure is fun to drag snow/cold haters out onto the wintry trails and see them at least sort of have a good time!
That’s exactly what I did with half of my weekend…forced friends into playing in the snow! Because it’s more fun when you have someone else out there “suffering” with you, right?! I’ve never been one to hate on mountain bikers on the trails and after Saturday morning’s run I won’t be complaining any time soon – they did a fantastic job of tracking out the trails for us! No gaiters or traction required in Fort Collins!
My first victim of the day was Sarah – she needed a 5 mile run for her half marathon training so we headed to Maxwell Natural Area for a few snowy trail miles. When our other friends bailed we adjusted the route a bit. We ran up the rocky single track then followed the mountain bike tracks to the road where we decided to run down the pavement. Her half marathon is mostly downhill on a highway so this was a quality training adjustment. We still go awesome views of Horsetooth Reservoir…and we had time for a donut + chocolate milk stop on the way home!
After some refueling and an hour of frantic [yet, probably useless] Patagonia packing I headed south to Boulder for another trail run. I was meeting a few friends to enable another friend’s stupidity! Jeremy was on a mission to run loops up/down Bear Peak for 72 hours so I offered Katie my gaiters…if she’d come play in the snow with us! She is in the middle of a major love/hate relationship with snow [maybe it’s hate/hate at this point!] so we decided it was time to put some new gear to the test. The verdict? Gaiters are awesome + Fern Canyon is steep and snowy, not the least bit runnable!
Luckily a lot of the trails were packed down – this time thanks to cross country + backcountry skiers. Sure, it’s not exactly fun to share a trail with a skier who doesn’t warn you before nearly taking you out, but having the trails packed down was quite nice. Even so, the gaiters were a necessity because as soon as we got up into Fern Canyon the skiers were not more – the only people packing down the trails were those of us stupid enough to hike up then slid down…over and over and over.
Some people hate on Fern Canyon but it is the only way I have ever climbed up Bear Peak and I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite hike/run/trek in the area! The Fern Canyon Trail is rocky and steep, which would make for some fun, technical running when it’s not snowy and icy. Of course, I’ve never been on this trail in the summer so all my experience involves a lot of slipping, sliding and swearing. It’s all about the adventure + Type 2 fun, or so I tell myself! At least when the trail is covered in two inches of snow your landing is [usually] pretty soft!
I left the Bear Canyon Trailhead on Saturday evening with plans to return to “pacer” duties at 3am with a steaming cup of coffee for Jeremy. Alas, the fluffy snow iced over and his legs went from “squishy noodles” to “overcooked noodles” causing him to bail on his adventure before I got there. So, rather than talk a friend up/down a mountain for a few hours I did my part to help replenish calories and enable movie theater recovery [fwiw, Lazarus Effect has a rather dumb ending and Spongebob Squarepants is funnier than you’d expect]. I’m pretending all of that sitting + lazing around counts as “international flight training”…because according to me, that’s a thing!
And there you have it – another not-too-exciting-but-still-mostly-photogenic snowy weekend! It’s my last snowy weekend before I head to Chile for two weeks of rainy, windy mountain fun! Yup, I leave on Thursday for my first legit international trip without using “school” as an excuse!