Snow different

So far this has been the winter of really wanting new toys. Nick wants a fat bike in the worst way. We both want AT skies so we can do something a little different when the snow flies. I don't mind (and welcome) the added running winter brings, but having some options would be nice. We had just gotten to the point where the trails were completely clear and fun to ride - then came Saturday. It was clear when I woke up - sunny and cold. But clouds quickly developed and snow began pilling up. Well then. So much for the group road ride. And three hours on the mountain bike was looking a little iffy as temperature started falling as quickly as the snow. Nick was not to be deterred. He got the bar mitts on Fun and we bundled up for as many hours as we could manage. As we pedaled up Cheyenne Blvd, all the drivers were giving  us weird looks. Three inches of snow on the road and those nuts are riding bikes? Yep! We headed up the canyon to do a few loops on lower Columbine. Up the blacktop, forging through the drifts, then sliding away down Columbine. Climbing was hard in the snow, having to keep smooth power and even pedal strokes to stay moving forward. But the drops down Columbine were cool. It was super fun - the trail was completely different with the layer of snow over the dirt. And the canyon was quiet. The snow absorbed all the noise from the city and there was no traffic. Until the snowplow came through and ruined the moment. Then it was time to head into Stratton to continue the fun. That's where I started to have issues because of the snow and the climbing. I was trying to keep my bike in the middle of the trail, but failing miserably. The tires of Fun kept sliding into the ruts and I kept spinning out. Add in the snow clogging my pedals and it was near imposible to get back pedaling at times. I was no longer having fun and was quite cranky when I got to the top of the Chutes. We decided to head home since I was crappy, but still had a decent ride. Mountain biking in the snow is much harder then it looks!

Near zero temperatures greeted us Sunday morning. I was supposed to run long and hard as prep for my half marathon. With six inches of snow on the groups and slippery streets I had no desire to hit the road. So we went hiking instead. Time for a trek up the mountain! Our goal was Barr Camp, maybe further if we were feeling good. We left a little later then we'd planned, but had blue skies for most of the hike up. The first three miles were well packed in thanks to the inclinite already out. We didn't need our poles or the snowshoes for the climb up Mount Manitou - we did take Barr up instead of the incline though
Nick on Barr - hiking up into the thin air of Pikes Peak

Photo op with the summit in the background
After the turn off from the Incline, we were on our own. No more runners coming done, no easy and well packed trail. There were a few prints in the snow - one set heading up and down and another set just heading up. When the wind gusted the snow over the trail, we almost had fresh tracks. It still wasn't deep - there was actually less snow between the Experimental Forest and Barr Camp then there was at home! But it was still fun and something different. We saw only two other people coming down during that section of the hike. Finally, a few hours after leaving the car, we arrived at Barr Camp.
Almost there! Just around the corner...
At Barr Camp, considering going higher
We hung out at Barr Camp for about an hour, talking with the new Caretakers Renee and Anthony. I'm not sure I could handle the summer tourons, but it seems like it would be an interesting job. And away from the hubbub of the city, for sure. Nick asked about summiting and how long that would take. I could tell he was thinking - not for today, but for the next time the weather gets snowy on a weekend. Then it was time to re-trace our steps down the mountain. Clouds had blown in and there was a heavy blanket of snow falling as we left Barr Camp. Our tracks leading up were almost covered by the fresh snow, lending an even more peaceful touch to the hike back down. I could tell Nick was thinking about bagging the summit one day. He's never hiked up and add in the winter conditions? Talk about a challenge! But that will be an adventure for another day.

Nick fixing his gloves

Some day - the summit?




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