A New Adventure- Winter Hiking in the Snow

Friday, December 5, 2014

On Top of Deer Mountain in RMNP after hiking on a snowy trail (photo by LivligaHome)

My family and some friends went up to the mountains for Thanksgiving. We were fortunate in that the weather was cold but we were not socked in with snow. In fact, it was so beautiful we wanted to go hiking!

I have always been a fair weather hiker. I tend to be a wimp when it is too wet, too cold, too hot or too snowy. Give me perfect conditions and I am rearing to go.

This past weekend the sun was shining, it was sweater and vest cold, which means it was pretty mild, and there was some snow on the ground. We called the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) info line and asked about trails that would be good to hike. They recommended Deer Mountain. It is a 6 mile hike round trip. It is fairly steep going up and a downhill dream on the return.

My husband had the foresight to recommend I take my walkingsticks and that we get some ICETrekker traction cleats for my boots. He figured, correctly, that as we ascended we would probably see more and more snow in addition to some ice. I resisted the “fuss” at first but then decided it wouldn’t hurt to have all the equipment handy if we did, in fact, need it.

He was so right. Just about a quarter mile into the hike it got icy. That is when I decided to put on the cleats. From then on there was ice and snow the whole way on the trail. Interestingly, the mountainside didn’t seem to have much snow, just the trail.

For a 58 year old it was quite a hike. Turns out hiking on snow covered trails is a lot like walking in sand on the beach. Your muscles are working hard as you sink in the snow or slide. It was quite a workout.

Thanks to having both my sticks and the cleats I was never afraid of falling. Normally when I feel vulnerable when hiking I tend to creep a long and take small steps. I can be a slow poke. But with my trekking gear I felt surefooted and gung-ho.

In the past I would never have imagined being willing to take a hike in the snow and ice on a RMNP trail at the end of November. It was very empowering to realize I am willing to take on new athletic adventures, with the right equipment, of course!

Taking a hike on a trail in the snow is beautiful. It is very different than a summertime experience. I am glad to have discovered this. The key, I have found, is the willingness to try new adventures and to make sure you have the right equipment to keep you safe. I am honestly looking forward to my next winter hike.

Here's to Living Vibrant!

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