Stella worked half a day on New Years, and once she had closed her computer, we headed to Winter Park for dinner, and then onto Grand Lake, just as we had done the weekend prior for Christmas. This time, however, instead of cross-country skiing, our plans were set on snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park.
March of 2020, our last snowshoe trek of the season, we had snowshoed on Trail Ridge Road all the way up to Fairview Curve Lookout. Because we had to break trail the majority of the way, it had been a very challenging trek, which we dubbed, “Trail Ridge Road 10’Miler”. This New Years weekend, we set out to complete the journey again since it had been so much fun the first time… kind of.
It was not supposed to have been windy, but the moment we stepped out of the Tahoe to begin gearing up, the cold wind swept in and naturally took our breath away. Stella quickly got back into the Tahoe and turned the heat on. We then paused and looked at each other for a second to make sure that we still wanted to go. But after a brief moment of hesitation, we continued preparing for the trek, Stella doing so in the Tahoe with the heater still running.
For the first mile, the trail was already well packed down from previous snowshoers. But after that point, we had begun our routine of breaking trail for those who may come along behind us, although it seems that very few endeavor as far as we do. However, this time it was a bit more challenging than the prior trek. The snow this time was very fresh and fluffy, causing our snowshoes to sink even deeper into snow (almost up to Stella’s knees). Snowshoeing in these conditions is a V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W process; each step seems to take forever. Stella is always in front, breaking the initial trail, and I then pack it down behind her. (Larry’s Snowshoes and Stella’s Snowshoes).
By the time we had arrived at the the 4th switchback, we had been snowshoeing for a touch over two hours. At that point, we had to decide whether to continue the rest of the trek up to Fairview Curve, which still was another two miles, or reverse course and head back down to the Timber Lake Trailhead parking lot. Initially, Stella had wanted to continue, but then quickly changed her mind when she realized how much the sun had already begun to set, and that the temperature had started to drop. One thing Stella really does not want to do is to snowshoe in the dark. Her imagination tends to wander, thinking about the wild things that prey in the absence of light.
With those two motivational factors underway, Stella seemed to have renewed energy and trekked very quickly back down to the Tahoe in the convenient packed trail that we had made. And I am quite certain that she was thinking about the hot shower and dinner that awaited her. Though we did not meet our objective that day, we did snowshoe about six miles and had a wonderful time being immersed in nature together, tackling our Trail Ridge Road: Take 2 adventure. And, we decided that next time we will utilize our offtrack cross-country skis (Larry’s skis and Stella’s skis) to complete the trek up to Fairview Curve, and perhaps even beyond.