Winter Hiking

November 14, 2009 at 10:12 pm

It’s been a hard start to the darkest season here in Colorado.

A record snowy October plummeted into a frigid November and December. And while the skiers all seem to be rejoicing over the snow quality this year, Mark and I have found ourselves retreating into rock gyms, yoga studios, and CrossFit Workouts with an unparalleled masochistic glee.

I think this little introduction was supposed to be some kind of excuse for why our most recent photogenic “adventure” was just a 5 mile hike in a local state park that happened about a month ago. But, hey, it’s a lovely park, and not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Snowy Pine Trees

Looking down on Horsetooth Reservoir and Fort Collins

We are very lucky to live in a small town along the Front Range in Colorado. The foothills just to our west loom over our town, and top out at near 8,000ft. They can’t be called real mountains, by a Rockies standard, but the forested slopes, red sandstone hogbacks, and lovely views of the plains spreading out below make for a great escape.

View from the summit of our unnamed foothill

Summit Shot

Our hike up was around 2.5 miles long, and gained about 1200 feet. We headed up the Well Gulch Trail and the Timber Trail until we hit the shoulder of the ridge. Then we broke off right and tagged the summit of one of the pointer foothills just north of Arthur’s Rock. I stare at this little peak from my office every day, and it was nice to finally sit on top of it that day.

We cruised down the side of the ridge, feeling good and racing incoming snow back to the car. We followed the Timber trail all the way down to a new trail that descents the most exposed and sunburnt part of the hillside. It seems the park service has built a few new, fantastic-looking, mountain bike trails up here, and I can’t wait to get back and try this one out next spring.

First Snow