Most people think of Colorado as snow covered in the winter, but in the Front Range we somtimes have January or February "thaws" where the temperature is in the high 50's or 60's for several days. That's a perfect time to pull the horses off their winter pastures, dust off their furry coats and go for a trail ride!
This week (January 9th) was one of those "thaws", and a group of natural horsewomen took advantage of the sunshine and warmth to explore a private ranch trail owned by a descendent of Abner Sprague (Sprague Lake is named after him). We rode to the edge of a ridge south of Carter Lake Reservoir to a spot called "Sandy Point" where a magnificent panorama of Longs Peak, Twin Sisters, and all of Rocky Mountain National Park awaited us. All the riders would agree - this was Colorado winter trail riding at its best.
January is a great time to go snowshoeing. Almost all of the best winter views in the Park are found on the hiking trails, however this time of year you'll usually need snowshoes. While most people head out to view frozen lakes and take in the grand vistas, in the winter I like to spend much of my time at those lakes looking down. On a handful of high mountain lakes that are ususally windy, you can find windblown ice that is just mesmerizing. Of course, it's very important to be safe if you are heading out onto ice (and best not to do if you are hiking alone). I usually take off my snowshoes so that I don't scratch up the clear ice. Just look what you can discover by venturing out and looking closely!
By guest blogger Jared Gricoskie of Yellow Wood Guiding.