A few weeks ago, in the midst of one of its famous weather reversals, the Colorado Front Range experienced one of its common, but often dramatic, spring snowstorms. Twelve inches of wet, cold snow interrupted a steady string of 70 degree plus days. And I, being the insane, adopted Coloradan that I am, decided that taking a hike in the middle of it was a good idea. I’m not entirely crazy: I went with two others, who included my niece and father-in-law, on a populated, fairly low level trail (as trails in Denver go; this one was at about 6000 feet or so). I was also not the only one bit by the hike-in-a-snowstorm bug; the trail was surprisingly busy for the middle of snowstorm.
Dressed as I was in appropriate attire as well, the experience was much, much more pleasant than I thought it would be. There is something beautiful about being out in nature in the middle of a relatively “warm” snowstorm that is exhilarating, expansive and very loving toward my body. I handled it better than I thought I would. The three and half mile trail we walked was about perfect; not too hard, not too easy and I managed the distance (and vertical climb) better than I thought as well, considering it’s been a while since I last communed with the mountains.
I’ve never been a winter sport person, although I have enjoyed snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on occasion. I also don't care for cold, but this spring storm was so much warmer than the frigid Arctic air that sometimes sweeps through the state in the depths of January and February, that it was actually pleasant. The gentle snowfall and still air reminded me of childhood winters spent in Maine, sugaring off under the shelter of the forest and playing on snowmobiles across miles and miles of trails that crisscross the state. The camaraderie of the trail is pleasant and cheerful, especially when everyone is happy to be outside, reminding us of a more carefree time.
Hiking in a snowstorm was a first for me, a reminder of the carefree moments from my childhood. While I don't like cold, spring storms are actually fun. How many fun firsts have you experienced so far this year?