During the week, we had high aspirations of snowshoeing on both Saturday and Sunday. But Saturday turned out being too cold for us. We ended up driving around a few places to look at the scenery and then took Aspen on a short walk in her boots and new coat. Thankfully, Sunday had turned out to be a bit warmer. For breakfast, we went to the HUB in Grand Lake. We had passed that place a million times and yet that was the first time we had actually stopped. However, we were very glad that we had. The HUB offers a wonderful array of baked goods, coffee drinks, etc.
After breakfast, we headed back to the lodge to get Aspen and load up the Tahoe. We were headed for the Doe Creek Trail, located on the west side of Lake Granby. This is where the trailhead begins in the Arapahoe National Recreational Area, and continues into the Arapahoe National Forest. It is a multi-use trail, shared in the winter with snowmobiles, snowshoers and Nordic skiers alike.
Once we had arrived at the trailhead, we were immediately greeted by a floppy-eared Coon Hound, who had just finished his winter trek for the day. He was quite interested in jumping into the Tahoe to greet Aspen, who was barking her head off. Once the floppy-eared pup was in his own vehicle, we geared ourselves and Aspen up for our own trek. The first half mile of the trail wanders through a small Aspen grove before opening to a meadow, which was blanketed with a fresh dusting of new snow. Just after a large boulder lies the trail marker where we encountered a family with two dogs and son, who had proudly summited the large boulder. One would have thought that he had conquered Mount Everest from the grin spread across his face.
We had hiked the Doe Creek Trail last fall, and at the point where you’ve reached the boulder, you have two choices. You can either veer to the right where trail will take you through a series of switchbacks and the across a ridge line before descending down to the creek (which we did last fall). Or, you can continue straight through the meadow, which takes you back into a Pine-laden forest. That is the route that had chosen for this trek.
Eventually, we had come across vast meadow where it looked like very few had continued beyond that point. We are accustomed to forging our own paths and breaking trail. Stella and I would have been fine, but Aspen was struggling because the depth of the snow was up to her chest. In the years past, she could have easily plowed through without difficulty. This year, however, she kept getting stuck and did not possess the strength in her hind legs to help her push forward.
After snapping a few photos, we reversed our course and began our trek back out. Shortly after reentering the forest, we heard snowmobiles, which had passed us shortly thereafter. It was too bad that the snowmobiles had not been in the meadow where we had just come from because that would’ve allowed us to follow behind them on the freshly broken trail. Oh well. Soon we were back at the Tahoe, and felt satisfied that we were able to provide another winter adventure for Aspen. I approximate that our trek was about 4 miles out/back. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the app to load so that it could track our distance and elevation gain. If the opportunity arises again before the snow melts, we may traverse the ridge to see if we can complete that loop.