Last weekend I went to Colorado with a group of old friends to do some hiking in the mountains. This was my first time to ever hike in the snow with snowshoes. It was both hard and awesome.
The hike itself was pretty intense. From the car to the cabin was 6 miles with a 2,000′ elevation gain. The fortunate thing is that since we were staying in a cabin we didn’t need to carry tents, and since there was snow to melt we didn’t need to carry much water. I think this was the first time in my life that I hiked with a pack weight of less than 30 pounds. Even so, I was completely spent by the time we got to the cabin.
The Polar Star Inn (in map below) is on New York mountain, just outside of Edwards, CO. Its surrounded by trees which so you really feel secluded, but there isn’t much of a view. There are a couple of nearby clearings though, and since you’re above 11,000′ elevation you can see for miles. We did hike further up the mountain the following day and the view is stunning.
The weather was absolutely amazing throughout our entire trip. Highs were in the mid 30’s and lows were in the mid 20’s. On the way up the sky was cloudy but we didn’t mind. While we were there we got 3 to 4 inches of snow. On our hike out the sky opened up and the sun came out. Hiking through fresh white powder with a bright blue sky above was absolutely amazing.
The group was the best part. Six dudes, all married. Some of these guys I’ve known for years (though haven’t seen recently), and two of them were new to me. We all got along great.
I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to go back, but I definitely want to. The 10th Mountain Division huts (cabins) are pretty amazing, and all are in stunning locations (some are easier to get to than others). If I get to go back, next time I think I’ll skip the snowshoes and rent Alpine touring skis instead. They look like maybe a little more work on the way up, and WAY more fun on the way down. I totally enjoyed snowshoeing and wouldn’t mind doing it again, but the spot that we went was prime skiing country.
I took a handful of pictures and uploaded them to flickr. Normal mountain photo disclaimer though, they look absolutely stupid in comparison to the real thing.