July 6, 2008

flowed land via calamity brook

I think it was the coldest day of January. We set the 20th as the day and ignored weather forecasts of way below zero not counting wind chill for our first snowshoe into the high peaks wilderness. (Much to my mother's dismay) We had tested out the shoes and practiced locally before feeling able to tackle the 9 mile round trip. I should back up and say that the snowshoeing came about after I figured out how much I loved being in the high peaks and did not want to have to say good bye to the park for the winter. I outfitted myself from head to toe with fleece, windwall, snow pants etc...the first trip out I could have been in a magazine add for the newest winter wear/gear. I haven't had that much new stuff since....well, years. Anyway, we started at Tahawus, the Upper Works trailhead. Followed the Opalescent along the Calamity Brook Trail. We got to see the Henderson Monument close up since the beaver handiwork was covered with snow and ice. I marveled at the way the Opalescent's water appeared a mint green color where it was frozen. The trail was packed down pretty good (whew!) and the terrain was rolling and the sun shown for most of the way in. We made it to the lean to right before you break through the trees to view the flowed land just in time to eat lunch. One of my bottles of water was frozen and I found out it was not a good idea to put lettuce on my sandwich as that too was frozen. We ate extremely quickly as it was registering -20 on my dad's pack thermometer. I put on an extra layer and a face mask before we ventured out to the middle of flowed land. I am actually glad I saw this place for the first time in it's frozen, white state. It was breathtaking to see a snow covered Colden and Avalanche Pass in the distance. The sun went behind the clouds and it was snowing on top of the mountains. It was much too cold to stay any longer and we headed back for the trail. Soon, the sun came back out and we finished our perfect day of snowshoeing feeling that we had accomplished something really big. We hope to find out what type of trail is under all that snow on our first backpacking trip.

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