Tromping in the New Year  

Two popular New Year’s Resolutions are 1) exercise, and 2) lose weight, so there’s no more fitting way to ring in the new year than by outdoor fun.

With snow piled high, snowshoeing should be at the top of your list. This winter sport is rapidly growing and considering all the benefits, it’s easy to see why:

  • Snowshoeing is a low-impact, high-energy activity that can be done at any fitness level
  • You can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour (wow!)
  • You don’t have to go far to find great trails
  • It’s suited for the entire family and non-skiing house guests of all ages
  • It’s a great way to get out and enjoy nature, and
  • It’s free!

Close-in Fun

Snowshoeing at Brainard Lake

Snow falls steadily on late December snowshoers at Brainard Lake.

On a recent trip to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, the snow was light, fluffy and falling steadily from the sky. Judging from the continued snowfall since then, the conditions should be perfect.

The trek to Brainard is about four miles round trip. You can find an excellent map and trail descriptions here, put together by the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC).

Once at the lake, warm up and enjoy hot cocoa in the 10,405 foot elevation CMC cabin, which is open most weekend winter days from 10:30 to 2:30. The cabin was built by the Boulder Group of the CMC in 1928. It’s not always open, so be prepared to make your trip there and back without warming up. A donation of $1 per person is requested. You can also participate in the annual September work party to maintain the cabin. It’s a jewel for all to enjoy.

No dogs are allowed on most of the trails, so either leave your dogs at home or plan to stay on the road.

A word of caution: Do not get too close to the edge of Red Rock or Brainard Lake or you may break through the ice and go into the bog. Trust me, I know.

Gear Up

Boulder-based Crescent Moon Snowshoes makes the perfect gear for your outing. You can buy them at locations around town, or rent at Crystal Ski Shop for only $9.60/day for adults if you reserve online. Ski poles are helpful if you plan to make fresh tracks.

For dress, remember snowshoeing is a high-energy activity. Be sure to dress warmly enough, but do not overdress or you will sweat, get wet, and then, get cold. Great tips on how to dress can be found in this article from the Coloradoan.

Pack the Essentials

The CMC recommends you go prepared for severe mountain weather conditions and take the following gear:

  • map & compass for navigation
  • sun protection
  • extra clothing
  • illumination
  • first-aid supplies
  • fire starter
  • repair kit & tools
  • food
  • water, and
  • an emergency shelter

Dog Friendly Trip

Coming on January 7, the CMC is leading a dog friendly snowshoeing trip in the Roosevelt National Forest. Everyone is welcome. You can get more information here.

Have a happy, healthy 2015!

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