Happy Groundhog Day 2013!

Depending on which varmint you follow, winter is either coming or going.  Punxsutawney Phil saw no shadow this year (early Spring) but our local marmot, Flatiron Freddy saw his shadow (which means 6 more weeks of winter).  That said, Farmer’s Almanac (sadly) has been bang-on this year – go Ben Franklin!

…winter will return with a vengeance for many East Coast states. But states west of the Continental Divide will see mild temperatures and below average precipitation.

 

Editor Peter Geiger writes:  It will be a ‘winter of contraries’. It’s like Old Man Winter is cutting the country in half. The eastern half of the country will see plenty of cold and snow. The western half will experience relatively warm and dry condition. As in the political arena, the climate this winter will render us a nation divided.

How best to celebrate Groundhog Day than x-country skiing in Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park!  FAAAANNNNTASTIC!

Met up with Annmarie, John & their meet-up friend Chip at the Stone Cup in Lyons – for breakfast before our ski day.  Picked up rental skis in Estes for only $12 (thanks Annmarie for bargain shipping!), then trekked to Wild Basin Trailhead in Allenspark.

Argh…not much snow – but kept positive thoughts [that] conditions would improve as we climbed higher.  Sunny weather, temps in the 30’s – BEAUTIFUL day!  AND lucky for us, Chip was a skilled x-country skier – and navigated our way.  Hiked a half mile to the trailhead (road closed this time of year) and SUCCESS – just enough snow…which only got deeper as we increased elevation 🙂

At the trailhead, met a guy who works at McMurdo station in Antarctica.  WOW – what a dream job!  Antarctica has been a bucket list destination since I was eight (4.21.2012 post: still on my adventure ‘wish list’).  Someday…but today – lovin’ my life in Colorado!  CLICK HERE for McMurdo Station Webcam.

Passed the (closed) warming hut (no hot chocolate for us 🙁 ), then ahead 2 more miles thru towering lodgepole pines.  X-country skiing is in my blood – LOVE this sport!  Our $12 skis were slightly wider than those rented at Eldora AND had metal edges – talk about a ROCKSTAR bargain. Edges make all the difference in controlling turns & allowing ya to skate ski (vs classic x-country).

3 miles in, saw a sign for Ouzel Falls – only 0.9 miles away.  But because it was 1pm, made a group decision – turn-back here or forge ahead.  Ouzel Falls, YES!  Think all 4 of us are like-minded & addicted to Colorado summit destinations.

OF COURSE this last 0.9 miles was the best of the entire day – isn’t that the way it always is?  Snow deepened (whole lot more powder), trail opened to several amazing views and our destination Ouzel Falls was SOLID ICE – WOW!   Spectacular!

Raced back in under 2 hours as my body started to fatigue.  Had run 10 miles BEFORE x-country skiing 10 miles (true marathon training).  Refueled at Smokin’ Dave’s before picking up Ro from his play-date.  What a crazy FUN day!

 

Ro play-date (short clip w/ baby Clara)

 

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