Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Snowshoeing up the road beside the South Fork of the Rio Grande to its big lake gave us lots of beautiful scenery--close and high and some in the distance. 8 of us put on our snowshoes and found a nicely groomed path made that morning.
The snow, rocks, trees, and flowing water showed off in the shadows and the bright sunshine.
We couldn't ask for a more beautiful day or spectacular scenery.
We will try, however, starting next Monday at 10 a.m. Bring your snowshoes to the S.F. Visitor Center and put on your "love of the outdoors" outfits. Next Monday will somehow already be February. That means that we have only 4 more months of winter and chilly spring. You can help us enjoy the cool time by joining us for our short hikes, sometime on snowshoes, maybe a time or two on skinny skis, and some later Spring hikes with your boots and jackets.
Next Monday, I think we may have to go high for deep snow. If so, I'm thinking of Wolf Creek Pass, down the Southwest side of the pass (which is the beginning of Wolf Creek—the one that flows into the San Juan River, not the East Side one that sometimes flows into the Rio Grande).
— Doug Knudson 873-5239
South Fork of the Rio Grande under that snow
S. Fork of Rio Grande
2 lonely trees on rocks
Snow cools hot hiker
Outlet of S Fork at the Reservoir
Bridge over the Outlet of Big Meadows Reservoir
Walking among the giants
Big Meadows valley; scenery we see best when walking in winter.
Hikers with big feet devices hiked for over 2 hours in beautiful snow. We started with calm (no wind) at the start, then got a little breeze now and then. It turned to almost sunny until our turn-around point. Going down, the track was laid, the strides were longer, the breathing was inaudible.
Some of you will recognize this as "Myrna's Summer Hike" (part way). We looked for moose. We saw a half-dozen deer. We drove home in fairly gentle snow, which got kind of windblown at the Visitor Center.
This hike showed the mental mettle of these folks from the beginning: When we met at the center of town, the wind and snow were blowing vigorously and creating some doubts, but no turn-backs. We were fortunate to be on the north side of the storm, relaxed, but breathing. You never know, but we had done a little field testing.
We welcome new or older hikers every Monday morning. We depart the Visitor Center in the middle of South Fork at 10 a.m. and usually spend 2+ hours mushing.
Join us next Monday for more fun.
Moon in the trees
A great day with light snow now and then and a beautiful little loop for thigh lifting exercise, along with a bit of huffing and puffing.
Thanks for the good company, the ladies who led about half the hike, leaving nice walking conditions for the guys.
Next week, I promise to photograph with more care and diversity.
Thanks for playing in the snow and enjoying it.
Snow in the trees
Empty trees on the hike
Back to the rubber tires.
On the first Monday of the new year, we enjoyed beautiful snow, no lifts, just nice trudging along. No one was sunburned because the clouds were shielding us. No one got dirty clothes because light rain washed us now. The five of us were compatible and jovial. Apparently the distance was about right, since no one fell asleep.
We'll do it again, somewhere else, next Monday at 10:00 a.m. leaving from the South Fork Visitor Center.
It's a different winter; our mail carrier, who has worked here a long time said she has never seen rain falling in January.
Photographs by Wayne Moulds.
We wandered through the big stone area just SW of our fair town. In some places we walked in the footsteps of last week's hikers; in others we left new trails. Welcome to Maurice Dykes, who will continue to join us on Monday mornings.
Next Monday, we may have deeper snow. Regardless, we'll gather at the South Fork Visitor Center before 10 a.m. and depart for another beautiful place. The rest of the week most of us will be skiing.
Questions? Call or email Doug Knudson 719-873-5239 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wrapped up, ready to hike, December 19, 2016, with clear, cool breezes on Sunday's little snow
Big Rocks--the Rio Grande NF beside the State Coller Wildlife area
The tough hikers
An elk bed--really. We followed trails made by elk and deer.
Bob among elk tracks
DelNorte Peak from Coller
This hike has variations
Into the wind
The palisade puzzle—I couldn't keep my eyes off of this big rock display. We live among great beauty.
Thanks to the 7 hikers with the fortitude to venture into a sunny but windy and chilly day. We spent almost 120 minutes wandering in the shallow snow. We wandered into places along the bottom of the bluffs, saw many tracks of big animals going to and from the river. I think Bob may be here next fall, if he can draw the location.
Weather man sez--another snow next weekend. Perhaps it will be more snowy than this week's volume. If so, we'll take snowshoes.
I'll try to be waiting at the visitor center before 10 a.m. Immediately afterward, I'll jump in the car with Judy for a week or so in a new environment (for us). I'll hope that our ski team will lead a hike after that.
— Doug Knudson
Merry and Significant Christmas.
May God bless you in the year 2017.
It's good to see so many of you hiking--Good health to all.
The BLM and Del Norte people built a new trail last year. Six of us took a cool day stroll on it. It is gentle, interesting, covered with piñon pine, juniper, shrubs, diverse cacti (we'll see them in bloom in late may or early June) and great views of the San Luis Valley with its jagged "fence" on the eastern side of the valley (Sangre de Cristos). (We'd have no valley without the mountain rims.)
This gentle zig-zag trail was expertly designed and full of scenery. Rock outcrops and copses of little trees give it a lot of variety. Next spring/summer, we'll get to the top of the ridge and see where that takes us.
Meanwhile, we can remember that this was Ute territory for thousands of years. Their predecessors were here (and left signs) before the Utes (or were they?) Maybe I can get a Ute to accompany us next May or June.
COMING UP: Is this snow going to continue to melt? If so, bring hiking bootssnowshoes on Monday at 10 a.m. at the Visitor Center. If the snow gets colder and stays around, bring snowshoes. I'm juggling several options for us.
— Doug Knudson. Bring a friend!