Adventures of a Colorado (non) Native
Luckily we soon found some sun and feelings of spring. Is it really here? We started out fairly early from the winter trailhead at Brainard Lake. From here we skinned along the closed road for a few miles before reaching the summer trailhead and the actual approach to Mt. Toll. We are told that most years the road is clear enough to ride your bike to the summer trailhead since the gait remains locked until June. But no such luck for us, so for now it’s a long skin in and a long skate out.
Despite our early(ish) start we didn’t make it to the summit cone until around 11am by which point boot penetration was getting towards the ankles. With the snow heating rapidly in the near-summer sun, we rushed to the top and dug a pit which told us that our greatest concern would be slough turning into a wet slide, but that we’d be alright if we headed down soon.
By the time we skied Mt. Toll I had skinned the 2.5 mile road to this trailhead five times in two weeks. The approach to the approach was growing monotonous so we opted for a change of scenery and headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park.
The day looked dismal at first and we tried to keep our morale up despite not being able to see the mountains through a thick layer of clouds. Rime crystals that formed during a nearly windless night were the highlight of the approach.
Sometimes you’ve just got to press on, and so we did. Before long the sun started peaking through the clouds and a magnificent sky greeted us.
Once again we had a phenomenal day with weather that really was starting to feel like spring. I drove home giddy with thoughts of skiing steeper lines I’ve been eyeing all season, but this year Mother Nature and my mind haven’t been thinking alike. A quick check of the NOAA forecast showed yet another low pushing towards the Front Range. For the next three days my view of the mountains from work was obscured by thick clouds that would briefly subside to offer glimpses of freshly-blanketed peaks. A dawn patrol was clearly in order.
Read about the author: Ben