I remember back at Christmas I went to a party with lots of folks from Allenspark.  Allensparkians are always colorful characters and I enjoyed the evening very much. But to my dismay I heard so many people talk of “going south” for the winter.   I understood the need for escape, yet a part of me felt that if you were truly a mountain person, you would love and embrace winter.  To be fair, this is not always easy.  I get it and I especially got it during February when the gentle warm breezes of anywhere south seem to call.  I was having to work a lot and not getting out on a regular basis.  I was depressed.  Maybe those people were right.  Go south.

Then came today.

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The original plan was a big snowshoe outing with Tom, Tina and Penny on the Odessa Loop, a big snowshoe outing with a trip to Lake Helene, Tom’s version of visiting Grace Falls, a trip down the creek to Odessa Lake, more creek tromping down to Fern Lake with a finish at the winter parking area near the Fern Lake Trailhead.  I was looking forward to something hard.

As you probably know it started snowing late in February and has kept snowing.  Yeah!!  But as of last night the avalanche danger on the Odessa Loop was pretty high and the effort to break trail was nearing epic proportions.  Tom emailed several times.  It would be cold and hard going. We decided to wait until the week of the 15th (after the store sale).

If I wasn’t going on the Odessa Loop then I wasn’t driving to Estes and into the park.  I live to the south in Allenspark and there is a lot we can do here.  Penny and I decided to go to the South St. Vrain Trail which heads toward Brainard Lake.  This is a woodsy trail and would give us a chance for mileage.


We took the Suburban, the new Footpaths vehicle which I’m just starting to love although the doors freeze, to the trailhead.  Conditions were what I call perfect.  What is perfect?  Well, I don’t do well in the heat and it was cold.  Cold also means the snow is light and easy to walk through.  The downside was that Beau couldn’t go- too much cold for his little paws.  It looked like there had a been people on the trail the day before.  They left a nice track that had been filled in with several inches of fresh snow for about 2 miles.  Nice.

Perfect also meant no wind and gently falling snow.  For me, this was perfect.


We snowshoed to the junction with the Sourdough Trail.  We got lost once during the trip and had to find our way back to the blue markers.  That was fun.  Penny broke trail on an uphill section and had to hone her “finding the trail” skills.  Once she fell backwards.  I was pushing her up the hill and laughing.  You have to laugh in the winter.  We made our way to the junction then decided to take the so-called one mile to the Gateway Cabin.  That one mile we realized on the way back was very uphill and seemed to go on and on.  I was tired and hungry.  At some point you don’t care how beautiful the snow is- where’s the stupid cabin???

Yeah!!- we made it and even had a bathroom.   We went inside the cabin where we were hoping for a table, but at least we could sit on the dry floor and have lunch.  My soup and hot tea with honey was better than any high-end restaurant.  We prayed before we ate.  I prayed aloud.  “God, thank you for the day, the beauty, the snow, keep us safe, be with our loved ones.”  Penny secretly was praying, “God, Help me make it back.  Please, help me make it back.”


That little piece of downhill at the beginning was bliss and the sun came out for a few minutes.  Oh wow!!  Going back in our track was so much easier.  My legs felt strong.  My cheeks were rosy.  The blood was flowing through my veins.

THIS WAS WINTER.  If you run away, you’ll miss it.  Yes, it can be elusive.  You have to try harder.  But the rewards??  Oh my, what a great day.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]