11.28.2006

Turkey Day Weekend Wrap Up

Hope everyone had a good holiday. As usualy mine involved a lot of outdoor activities! I started out with a few runs over at Beaver Creek on Thursday morning. They opened the day before, and while there wasn't much open conditions were pretty good and it wasn't too crowded. I headed home at 12 so I could get started on the Thanksgiving dinner. I was playing host to the office "orphans", all of us that had no other plans for the holiday. There only ended up being 4 of us, but it was good. I made the turkey, stuffing and potatoes, and my friends brought desserts, vegetables and chips with homemade salsa to nibble on during the football games. Friday we had to work, but we all had nice little care packages of leftovers to look forward to.

Saturday it was back on the ski slopes, this time to Vail. They opened more terrain during the week and I got to ski some runs that I haven't been on since April when they closed for the season. Should be another good weekend of skiing coming up, today we've been hammered with snow! Already over a foot in town and its supposed to keep going all night and into tomorrow although it is supposed to lighten up a bit. We still should get a good 2 feet on the ski slopes out of this one! Good news for us so that we can boost our early season conditions! It makes for some rough driving, but its worth it to get that early season powder!

Back to last weekend... Sunday with the impending snow storm I decided would be a good time to climb a few more peaks before they got all snowed in. I was originally going south to an area that had almost no snow, but my partner had to bail on me last minute and I came up with a plan B instead. I headed to just east of the Eisenhower tunnel to the Herman Gulch trailhead. This area is really popular in summer because of its easy access to Denver, but winter sees a little less traffic. I was the first car in the lot at 7.30am (but there were 5 more when I came back). I hit the trail and took the fork with the Waltrous Gulch trail to head towards a few high 13ers. The trail had some snow, but it was well packed down. Above treeline there was also a good amount of snow, but as I got near the slopes 12,520' saddle between Mt Parnassus (13,574') and Woods Mountain (12,940') the wind had scoured the peaks clean. The ascent up Paranassus was interrupted with a brief snowshower, but otherwise it was smooth sailing on grassy slopes. From there I travered over to neighboring Bard Peak (13,641'), one of Colorado's 200 highest peaks. Along the way I saw no people, but 8 bighorn sheep! One I saw pretty close as I startled him when he was behind a rock outcropping I was hiking around. He ran off pretty fast and by the time I got my camera out it was tough to get a good picture of him. I finished my hike up Bard and enjoyed a snack before having to reclimb over Parnassus to get back to Waltrous Gulch. I decided the extra 420' to climb Woods were worth it and headed that way. There were two other people at this point climbing as well, for the woman it was her first peak. I congratulated them and then headed back down to the car, making it back around 3pm. It was a great way to burn off those turkey calories! Hopefully I will get another peak in this year, especially seeing as I have never summited anything in December, but aside from that it is time to ski!