Woke up Saturday morning to rain. Ugh.  40 weeks of fair weather hikes, my luck had ended – maybe.  Rain is not super common in Colorado so no matter what your plans, you happily adjust and remain grateful for precip of any kind.

Weather folks have been saying ‘snow in the mountains’ for weeks – so off to mountains we drive.  AND good to have my hiking buddy Ro back.  Ro was more than ready for a road trip, circling the car multiple times before I opened the rear passenger door. From the time I grab my backpack and start loading with water and food fuels, Ro gets super excited; little guy knows 🙂

Off to the Continental Divide, today’s target was Mount Parnassus – a 13er not far from Grays & Torreys.  But as I learned last week in Moab, there’s much joy in the journey (although end destination/summit views generally ROCK!)

Arrived at Herman Gulch trailhead, greeted by light snow and ONE other vehicle in parking.  Hmmm…no getting lost today – appears my hiking community stayed in bed dreaming of the impending ski season (our state’s unofficial religion).  Layered up and ready to go.  Ro was a dog possessed today – LOVES snow!  Sniffing, rooting [his nose] under the snow, then leaping in attempt catch snow flakes.

What a gorgeous hike start – light snow, pines, bare aspens (having now shed their leaves), and quiet…complete quiet.  Far from work and concerns of the world, the simply beauty of today’s hike refueled my soul. Passed a stretch of fallen trees from spring avalanche past, right at the first trail marker, then left at the second pole.  Successfully crossed two small creeks, stayed dry. Right on track, no getting lost.

Loss of treeline near 12,000ft and the wind blew.  Snow erased all remnants of trail so needed to use hiking experience this day – kinda like taking a midterm.  Headed UP, identified the range ridge – trails lead to ridges, ridges lead to peaks.

Snow pellets were stinging as the wind gusted.  Ro’s beard was completely snow-abomiable now, icicles forming off his neck and muzzle. Then almost like a mirage, I spotted another hiker.  Ro & I picked up the pace – was not gonna lose sight of the only other human out today. John, Kelso & Chena (his 2 dogs) hike this range often and didn’t mind us tagging along to Woods Mountain, a 12er directly ahead. Parnassus was right of the ridge saddle, Ro & I had went left.  Could have backtracked and hiked 1500ft UP to summit; but honestly had no attachment to Parnassus vs Woods this day – all about the journey (and hiking with other humans) 🙂

10 minutes more and hike SUCCESS!  Wind was whipping; Ro kept forcing himself between my pants legging for shelter.  Enough for one day.  30-45 minutes down from Woods, I found group of rocks & 2 trees to shelter us from the pounding wind/snow pellets.

Lunch break!  My energy bars were jerky-hardened from the cold but still had available water thanks to a trick learned from my friend Kimberly.  Blowing water back into the CamelBak after drink-finished keeps water from freezing in the tubes. Sure she was trying to keep water from heating up at Delicate Arch – but same concept.

5 days after Moab hiking in a t-shirt, now Macgyver-focused on water not freezing in my backpack.

LOVE LOVE LOVE my Colorado life!


Woods Mtn (october snow clip)


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