Looks like winter has arrived…sort of? I don’t remember when snow first showed up last season, but I do know I was hiking well above 11,000 feet in November wearing a tank top on a nearly snow-free trail! Maybe winter is actually arriving early this year?! Because it’s here! Of course, it won’t stick around as it’s already melting, but we got a nice little taste of winter this weekend…right after we soaked up miles of fall. We’re in the midst of one of Mother Nature’s full-blown mood swings! Don’t believe me? Here’s a peek at the last four days here in Silverthorne…
Snow Tubing at Loveland Pass
The best life lessons are learned in the wilderness, right?!
Such as “if it makes your heart flutter, do it” + “just huck yourself over the edge + hope for the best”.
These are the life lessons you’ll come upon when you lug a snow tube along the ridge of the Continental Divide trail on Loveland Pass. The guys were up there the week before with pristine conditions — fluffy snow + full coverage. We were not so lucky this time around. Instead of being greeted with a mountain cloaked in fresh snow we were staring down at a rocky, bare slope with patches of snow. This was our launching point. We had two choices — huck our bodies over the edge + hope we’d manage to stay atop our tube or turn back.
Snowshoeing Lily Pad Lake
There is a first time for everything…the first big snow of the season, your first time snowshoeing, being the first to break trail, first time out to Lily Pad Lake. First times are fun, ask anyone who’s survived the rush of trying something new. However, there seems to be a tipping point. Add enough first times to the same experience + it goes from being exciting to exhausting rather quickly. Last week, we found that tipping point!
Okay, so weather is weather is weather and whining about it isn’t going to change anything but…spring seems to think it has arrived here in Summit County, Colorado. Since early February we’ve had only a handful of days that didn’t get above freezing with most of our days hitting 40-50 degrees before noon rolled around. Sounds like spring, right?!
Except it’s March! Spring should NOT be here yet!
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m loving this weather — it’s fantastic for running on the roads or trails, it’s doing a great job of kicking off my runner tan lines + back country packs are lighter because you need more sunscreen than layers.
In preparation for our trek around Torres del Paine in Chile I decided it was necessary for Logan and I to figure out how we deal with stress…you know, in case something goes wrong in a foreign country where neither of us speak the language. Besides, a little misery training always does a person good, right?!
That is how our plan to summit a winter 14er came to be – we were going to put ourselves in a situation that would result in misery for the sole purpose of making sure neither of us got murdered for being annoying, whining or generally unlikable. Looking back I basically created the perfect plan for my own death. Luckily we were able to convince Robb to join us. And by convince I really mean I said “Hey, can we crash at your place Saturday night? Oh, and by the way, you should come hike a mountain with us Sunday!”. What can I say, he’s agreeable like that!
I proudly pack ALL of my weekend adventuring gear and backpacking essentials into a 22L Columbia pack and wrangled tent poles through airport security with big plans for some backcountry backpacking in Oregon with Erin and Weez. After a day of wandering around Portland on my own it was time to explore the great outdoors. On Friday morning I carefully packed up my food and reassessed my layers. The weather was much chilly than forecasted but we had high hopes for rising temps as the world woke up.
By mid morning we’d packed everything into the car and headed southeast toward the Three Fingered Jack trailhead. Our game plan was to spend the next two days/nights backpacking the 20-24ish [depending upon which website you ask] loop around Three Fingered Jack. In our diluted minds we’d spend the days hiking and exploring than camp along the trail with rainy but bearable temperatures that *might* drop below 20 degrees. The closer we got to our destination the more “uh, we might die” talk swirled around the car. The thermometer in the car kept spitting out lower temperatures…by the time we got to the trailhead, at 2pm, it was reading 11 degrees. ELEVEN DEGREES! In the afternoon…on a very sunny day. Oh, and we were surrounded by heaping piles of snow. As in the trailhead was not accessible because it was buried under 2-3 feet of fresh snow. This was not going as planned…
Well, winter finally showed up in Colorado. We had far more weeks of 65+ degree weather than we should in October/November but that all changed yesterday! On Monday I showed up at the office in Fort Collins at 8am…it was 62 degrees and sunny. By 10:15am it was 28 degrees and snowing sideways. Welcome to Colorado where the weather cannot make up it’s mind!
After a long week with many, many moments of “gah, I wish I could just turn the internet off” I spent my weekend doing exactly that. Sure, I had my phone on me and yea, I double tapped posts on Instagram but in the grand scheme of things…the internet did not matter!
It started with a friendly meet up with Chris and Marissa in Boulder. It was a freaking gorgeous day with bluebird skies and temperatures that should have left us in September. We spent some quality time frolicking around trails and making fools of ourselves before we decided we’d earned our weight in fries + beer. I guess the internet isn’t all bad if it gets you friends like these crazies…
The backcountry is an interesting place. If you take a second to think about it you realize that a lot of the things about the backcountry are really quite miserable. What part of skinning uphill for miles with a 40lb pack sounds fun? None of it! It doesn’t matter how beautiful the scenery is…that kind of hiking hurts, a lot.
And somehow I am still always jumping at the opportunity to spend hours trudging through the snow. Why?!