Last Saturday, we headed to Nederland to enjoy some easy-going snowshoeing with our friend Meghan and her Golden Retriever, Sadie. This was the first time either of them had snowshoed and they were both very excited to explore the snow on the beautiful Colorado bluebird day. Meghan wore Larry’s new Tubbs Flex VRT snowshoes since they are slightly smaller and less cumbersome than his old pair, Atlas 1030 Mountain snowshoes.
We parked at the West Magnolia Trailhead and set out west on the Observatory Trail. For the most part, the West Mag trails are rock covered. With the wind scraping away the snow in exposed ridges and open areas, the snow cover was minimal in some areas. However, in other areas, there was ample snow. After crossing FR 355T we continued loosely up the Observatory Trial to the top of the ridge. From there we ventured south, winding in and out of the forested areas before heading up the trail to the YMCA Camp. We explored around the YMCA camp before reversing course.
In some spots, we broke our own trail, which was a bit challenging for the first-time snowshoers, but they did great! The last portion of our trek was on Aspen Alley trail, heading east. We reached a point along the trail where it was too rocky to continue. If we had continued, we would have finished the trek to the Tahoe on the along the Whoop-Di-Dos. Instead, we turned about and backtracked to County Rd 132W where we just had a short distance to reach the Tahoe.
At that point, the winds had picked up significantly so we were glad to be done. Larry’s navigation program had stopped working at some point, so we estimate the total trek was roughly 3 miles. Afterward, we enjoyed another fantastic dinner at our favorite Nederland pizza joint, Backcountry Pizza. A great way to wrap up our Nederland Snowshoe Day Trip.
NOTE: This is a very rocky place to snowshoe, both on and off the main trail. Lots of rocks are hidden beneath the snow and you do not know they are there until your snowshoes clack against them. This even happened in areas of deep snow. We have not experienced this problem, to this degree, anywhere we have ever snowshoed. I was concerned about the welfare of our snowshoes constantly clacking against all of the rocks but they all appear to be intact. For this reason, I would not want to use our skis in this area and risk damaging them, although people many were.
NOTE: Regarding snowshoe sizing. I was able to “see” just how important getting the right sized snowshoe is. For example, Meghan is much shorter than Larry, so both of his snowshoes are too large (in length) for her. For this trek, they were adequate since she didn’t have to deal with renting a pair. Should she want to snowshoe again, however, her experience may be more enjoyable with a smaller pair. When I trekked behind her, I observed the tail of the snowshoes often crossing over one another, which sometimes caused her to stumble a little. We instructed to walk with her legs further apart, like a penguin, which was helpful yet not a perfect solution.