Winter Colorado Trail Hike

Snowboarding 2012One of the perks, and challenges, of having moved to Colorado is exploring what to do in the great outdoors during the winter months. Growing up in the midwest didn’t amount to much time in the snow and most of that was building snowmen, forts, and sledding. Living in an area with a “real” winter means I can explore so many new things!

So I have started to take up snowboarding recently and having a fun time of it. Fun, albeit slightly painful with the learning curve … but I definitely feel like it’s coming around. The last time I went up the mountains I had the pleasure of crashing a few times which left me slightly sore and trepidatious at the thought of doing too much that risked falling. Or pushing myself up off the snow. Or anything that involved a very sore rib.

Colorado Trail Snow HikeBut the new year came around and I wanted to get out for a bit of an adventure. I decided to head up to Kenosha Pass and get in a snow hike on the Colorado Trail (the hike on Strava). And I was pleased to see I wasn’t the only one up, taking in the sights. In fact the first couple miles of the hike we well packed … so much so I almost wish I had brought a bike! And I found that a nice bit of energetic hiking kept me pretty warm as well, so everything was great. In the last mile or so of the out-and-back hike the snow started to become powdery and deep but made for some fun. It was beautiful watching the clouds in the distant peaks.

One fun aspect of new adventures is figuring out what I need to take along and how to deal with new conditions. This trip I wore:

  • Snow pants
  • Hiking boots with gaiters
  • Compression socks, toe warmers, and warm hiking socks
  • A long sleeve base layer
  • Windproof vest
  • Windproof softshell
  • Hardshell jacket
  • Basic stocking cap
  • Liner weight gloves

I probably could have been fine with the vest and hardshell or the softshell and hardshell. Having the hood on the hardshell proved to be a good thing when the wind picked up or when I felt a bit cold. But most of the hike the layers were a bit much but taking off the gloves or other things allowed for easy adjustments. I had also shoved my goggles in my bag, but never really needed them as the day was fairly calm. Despite “knowing better” I also took a long a hydration bladder instead of water bottles. I shoved this close to my body and it was fine for the beginning of the hike but was unusable later in the hike … so next time water bottles it is!

Here’s to a great 2013!

One thought on “Winter Colorado Trail Hike

  1. Great CT trip report. Thanks for sharing with everyone. Here’s a tip (often works for me) for using Hydration Bladders in the winter. After sipping, keep the bite valve open for a couple seconds to allow the tube water to return to the bladder. Keep the tube free of water so no ice jam builds there. Happy adventures on The Colorado Trail.

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