Sunday, December 18, 2016

5 below in paradise

Most of the Rocky Mountain West experienced a cold snap on Saturday that we had a little taste of — temps between -10 and 0F, with about 6 inches of "cold smoke" snow on the ground. Temps climbed to 61 degrees in Boulder on Thursday, so I know a cold snap here is as fleeting as it is beautiful. Beat and I ventured out in the afternoon for a four-hour, surprisingly strenuous hike on a loop that normally takes me closer to two and a half hours. We didn't see anyone else out there, although we had a set of tracks to follow. I was congested from my Friday allergy shots, and wasn't having the best day physically — but it certainly was a gorgeous outing.

 Heading down to the West Ridge trail.

 Bear Canyon in the frigid shade — temps were almost certainly below -10 in this sunless canyon.

 Working my way up the ridge of Bear Peak. My pace dropped to a crawl. I took my mittens off and unzipped my jacket, and still continued to sweat profusely.

 Oh, but views.

 And hoarfrost sparkle.

 Beat waiting for me on the summit. A brisk breeze tore across the ridge, and the windchill was exhilarating ... or brutal.

 Trying to catch my breath after the climb.


 Stumbling over hidden boulders through the burn.


The temperature was around -5 as the light faded.

The quiet road home.


  1. beautiful trail...which trail is this?

    1. Bear Canyon Trail, then Fern Canyon, then Green-Bear.

  2. I thought that it was your kind of weather as I pedaled out into it yesterday. It was like a crystalline world, so still and so beautiful. I, too, wore so many clothes that I was sweating on my fatbike when it was -9°F.

  3. Beautiful pictures. Good training weather!

  4. Magical, but so difficult for me to imagine the cold!

  5. I enjoy my time in Colorado, but I never feel like it could be "home." If it's below 0, I need to be north of 60! No point in cold weather if you can't have real Boreal wilderness.

  6. Beautiful country for sure...I was up in Colo Springs for most of Dec (just flew home last Friday before the 'cold snap' hit). Rode my ancient 26'er mtb (w/ tiny 2.3" tires) in the snow...quite fun and it's been AGES since I did snow rides! I can only imagine how fun a fatbike would long as you dress for it, winter riding can be a blast I have re-learned! (I still live in CA, the Central coast where if I have to wear sleeves and/or leg warmers at any time then it's COLD). Glad to see you getting out more, hopefully you can kick this allergy thing and get back to your "SUPER JILL" mode we are all used to all these years!


Feedback is always appreciated!