Bill, Trail Walking Ambassador
I just got home from work, a bit early but feeling whipped. I headed out about 5:45 this morning and drove 20 minutes to Arapahoe Basin ski resort, at the base on the Continental Divide here in Northern Colorado. The Basin starts at 10,800 foot elevation and tops out at just over 13,000. I put on my Tubbs snowshoes, grabbed my poles, and headed up the High Noon run just as the darkness was beginning to break. There were a few other “uphillers” as we are called, but they were all on skis with skins, I was the only one on snowshoes. High Noon starts climbing quickly, and since everyone else was headed straight up the slope, I did the same. If you think you are in shape, try “uphilling” on a ski slope at 11,000 feet elevation! Although I couldn’t keep up with those on skis and skins, I kept going, telling myself that all the others were at least 30 years younger than me. (I later found out two of them were at least 10 years older) I made it to the mid-mountain restaurant, Black Mountain Lodge, in about 45 minutes, where I took a welcome rest (on the deck, the restaurant doesn’t open until 9:30) and enjoyed a cup of coffee I had brought along in my pack. I took a few pictures, including a couple of myself by setting my camera on 10 second delay, and then headed up the mountain again.
My goal for this first ascent had been to make it to the mid-mountain lodge, but since I was there and feeling fine, I decided to head up a bit further. I continued to about 2/3 of the way up the mountain before heading back down, mostly because I knew I had to get to work by 10. I headed down the ski runs, staying on the edge where the snow was soft and I could float on my shoes as I descended the mountain. I made it down in about half the time it took to go up, and I rewarded myself with a hot chocolate in the base lodge when I finished. I drove the 20 minutes back home, showered, and was in my office by 10. What a great way to start the day. However, as the day continued I realized I had given my legs quite a good workout, and by the time I got home, I knew I was whipped. I also know that I will do this again, perhaps once or twice a week, and will leave a bit earlier and make it to the top.
Being outdoors, on my shoes, enjoying the solitude and the beauty of the mountains when most people are still sleeping, now that is why I love living where I do. Thanks Tubbs for letting me share some of my experiences this winter, as well as a few photos along the way……