First Snowshoeing Expedition

Last Saturday I went snowshoeing for the first time ever! I hadn’t yet done any winter sports in Colorado, so I was eager for the opportunity to get out and do something with friends. I went with a few of the guys from the Calvary Young Adults Group, namely Joel, D, Andrew, Richard, and Kyle. We drove up to Brainard Lake (elevation 10,300 ft), which is about an hour’s drive west-northwest of Boulder. I came down with a bit of a sore throat a few days earlier, but it wasn’t too bad, and I wasn’t going to let that deter me.

It snowed the whole time we were up there, and some of the forests were so quiet and so snow-laden that it made me and others think of Narnia. It was absolutely gorgeous. Snowshoeing was a ton of fun, but snowshoeing for seven miles at over 10,000 feet elevation for this first-timer had me totally knackered. The uphills in particular took the starch out of me, and made me so hot that for awhile I took off my hat, gloves, and opened my coat. The first mile was mostly downhill, but then the next three miles were mostly uphill. I was definitely the slowest one in the group, and required frequent short breaks. After we took a short, very cold, but much-needed break for lunch at Brainard Lake (which wasn’t visible because of falling and blowing snow), the last three miles of the loop were much easier, partly because they were more flat and downhill. But again, it was a great experience, and I totally loved it even though I was quite sore for the rest of the day!


The drive back home to Boulder was an interesting one, though. The snowstorm had made the Peak-to-Peak Highway pretty bad between Ward and Nederland, and then Hwy 119 going down Boulder Canyon from Nederland to Boulder was a gigantic sheet of ice. A really windy road that descends 3000 feet in 20 miles is extremely treacherous when it’s a sheet of ice. We were going about 5-10 mph most of the way down, and still had three or four incidences of not being in control of the vehicle for a short time. We saw several people skid out in slow-motion (or saw evidence of people having skidded and hit the guardrails not much earlier). There was one skid-out several cars in front of us that led to a chain reaction of skidding, in which Joel (who I was riding with) had to slowly skid into the opposing lane to avoid hitting Andrew in front of us. That was really close! By the time we were approaching Boulder, we even saw a transit bus in the ditch, wedged against the cliff. That was easily the worst road I’ve ever been on. Finally once we hit the Boulder city limits the road wasn’t icy anymore, just slushy. Boy were we ever glad to be at the bottom of the mountain and off that treacherous road!

The snowshoeing exhaustion and icy road stress certainly led to a good and early night’s sleep for me!

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