Sunday, March 6, 2016

Powder Day in Rocky Mountain National Park

Recently I had the opportunity to spend a beautiful Friday snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park, which by my account, is a great reason to take a PTO day.

It's been pretty warm in Colorado this year so far and when we arrived in Estes Park - about an hour north of Boulder, 2 hours from Denver - and there was hardly any snow on the ground, I started to wonder if we'd be hiking. Thankfully, that was not the case.

With Mike Caldwell (father of Tommy Caldwell - who you may know as one of the guys who, along with Kevin Jorgeson, successfully free climbed El Capitan's Dawn Wall - it was all over international news January 2015) as our all-knowing guide, we headed to the Bear Lake trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park and found snow.

Lots of beautiful snow.

Bear Lake Rocky Mountain National Park
Photo By: Olivia Odez

Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter

Group snowshoeing Rocky Mountain National Park
Photo By: Olivia Odez

While Matt and I took up snowshoeing when we moved to Colorado, there were a few firsts for me on this adventure.

  1. I used poles. We don't have poles but by the time we were halfway up the first climb I was convinced of their awesomeness. The climbs aren't effortless with poles, but they do provide extra bit of oomph (the technical term, I'm sure) when you're pushing upwards and need some extra traction. 
  2. I walked across a frozen lake. If we hadn't been following Mike, who knows the park like the back of his hand, I probably wouldn't have ventured out across the ice. Which would have been a shame because looking down through the ice was awesome and beautiful. 
  3. I learned two new techniques. If you're heading down a very steep hill with deep, loose powder, turn around and dig the front of your snowshoes into the snow and step down like on a ladder. The crampons that are on the front of the snowshoe provide all the traction and according to Mike, this is the way to go. On most downhills however, you want to go down forward, with your center of gravity forward, and go with speed. Otherwise you will likely fall on your bum. Second, when you're going across a section that slopes upward, turn sideways with the front of your snowshoes facing up the slope and do like karaoke. Again, it's all about those crampons.
Lisa wearing Oiselle Rocky Mountain National Park
Photo Credit: Olivia Odez

Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter

Lisa and Amanda Snowshoeing Rocky Mountain
Photo Credit: Olivia Odez
Snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain
Photo Credit: Olivia Odez


It turned out to be a perfect day for snowshoeing and I had blast hanging out with Amanda (of Run to the Finish) and many other cool, adventure-seeking, nature-loving people. 

I'm definitely hoping to go back this summer with Matt for a hike. 

Thank you to SMACK! Media, Tasc Performance, Zamst, and Trigger Point Therapy for organizing this fantastic day in Rocky Mountain. And to Melissa Arnot and Jeff Evans for taking time out of their busy schedules to join us and share with us the importance of servant leadership, giving back to the community, and encouraging others to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

What are your favorite winter sports? * 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, do you have a favorite park?

1 comment:

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