Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More Snowshoeing! Clear Creek County's Winter Fun!

Glittery snow sparkling in the sun

I have been dreaming of a white Christmas since September, when we decided we would stay in Colorado this year for the holidays instead of going 'home' to Michigan as we usually do.  Unfortunately for me, the Front Range didn't get a drop of snow, and in fact, it was in the mid 50s with sun and I was hot in my sweatshirt and jeans taking the dogs for a walk.  Josh and I decided since the snow wasn't going to find us, we were going to find the snow, and we drove into the mountains on I-70 west in search of some snowshoeing weather.  It wasn't hard to find a lot of snow about 35 minutes west of Golden, the mountains got slammed with a storm that measured in feet.  We drove to the Bakerville Exit off I-70 and there was plenty of snow on the south side of the highway to snowshoe on the Bakerville/Loveland trail that spans 5 miles.  It's popular in the winter for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and even some winter hiking.  In the summer, this is popular for mountain bikers and hikers.

Getting there: From the Denver metro area; take I-70 West to Exit #221, the Bakerville Exit.  This exit has no services, and is the same exit as the 14ers Grays/Torrey's trailhead.  For this hike, exit and turn left or south and go over the highway parking in the dirt lot next to the old chimney.  There are no signs here, you will see other cars on any given day, it's fairly popular in the winter for cross country skiers.  Here is the Clear Creek County website link.

Crossing the river on the trail

Specs: There are no facilities, or bathrooms at the lot by the chimney.  The Bakerville/Loveland trail is very easy, with minimal ups and downs.  You could take your grandparents to hike here!
Hiking  Nearby:  There is a trail on the north side of the highway and a small parking lot for trails north of I-70.  There is a trailhead farther up the dirt road on the south side of the highway for the Grays/Torreys Peaks.

Our Journey: I was really excited to get into the mountains this weekend, Josh had been sick and I didn't think we'd be able to snowshoe as a family this weekend.  However, he made a fast recovery after a long illness and was ready to get outside as well.  We wanted to get into the mountains for some snowshoeing and to see some snow, and we drove to the Bakerville exit and tried to find parking in the lot.  For some reason, my usually cautious husband managed to drive us into a snow drift while trying to park and we spent 35 minutes digging ourselves out; finally with the help of another guy, pushed our way out of the mess. I then parked the SUV and we finally got hiking!
We were both a little grumpy after the snow mishap, but that was minimal compared to the loss of one of our hiking poles, which was the main reason we hadn't snowshoed yet this season.  I dropped it on a hike in Evergreen and wasn't ever able to find it; the poles were new to us and one of my favorite pieces of hiking gear that are used often; I offered Josh the remaining pole, since I lost the other one, and we started hiking.
The sunny skies and happy doggies quickly dispelled our foul mood, and we happily hiked down the trail in our snowshoes.  Josh had to stop and rest often, he is still recovering from being so sick, but that gave me time to snap photos of the snowfall and sunny skies.  The trail continues up and down small hills, nothing that really made me breathe hard, but offered good scenery and a wide trail for other outdoor activities.  Most people passed us on cross country skies, which looked a lot of fun and is something neither of us have done before.
The trail continued through the pine forest, then came out for a few hundred yards before going back in again;  the trail continued like this for the entire time we hiked and I began to get just a little bored of the simple hike.  But it was a good trail for Josh who was still weak from being sick for so long.  At this point, I asked Josh if he was ready to head back, he nodded, and we turned around to trek back.  I hadn't noticed the trail was uphill when we were heading west, but now that we were going back I noticed the gradual downhill and we made it back to the car in less than an hour.

Mush Belle, Mush!

There weren't many cars left in the parking lot and we packed up our stuff and hit the road.  Again, prone with bad hiking luck recently, we noticed something wrong with the truck as we got on the highway, and Josh said; "we have a flat tire."  'Great,' I thought sarcastically, and we got off the highway at the next exit to air up the tire.

Josh reminded me that our new (new to us) SUV had it's own tire pump and air built in, so it was super easy to add air to the deflated tire.  It wasn't popped after all, and it was a quick fix with the truck's air pump.  We were back on the highway in a few minutes and home a half an hour later.
It was so nice to get outside and into the mountains, even with the mishaps along the way.  Next weekend, Boulder maybe?

Click here for google map

Winter wonderland

ME :)  Cheeeese

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