CAL Falls in Love with the Mountains: Day Six

View from the little balcony on my room.
You’d best believe that I took this picture and went immediately back to bed. hehe.

Working a job where most days we meet for 05:30-06:00, I’m no stranger to early mornings. But that doesn’t mean I like them (read: I don’t. At all). So a nice lazy morning where we leave the house after 09:00? Totally cool in my book. After saying goodbye to the ladies, we jumped in the truck (probably a pretty literal depiction in my case…) and headed towards Winter Park for some snowy adventures.

On the way from Littleton to Winter Park we went from having totally clarity of the surrounding mountains to a white out. Theme of the trip should’ve been white out…we say quite a few of them! I spent most of the trip just looking out at the beautiful snowy mountains. Growing up in Connecticut, with its total lack of mountains, it’s quite the experience to be out in Colorado. It goes from the plains to MOUNTAINS. Real life mountains. I’ve flown over them before, but this was the first time actually experiencing them. If going out into the mountains doesn’t make you absolutely fall in love with nature, it’s no wonder we seem to hell bent on destroying out planet.

Eventually Pete pulls us off the main road and into a snow-covered parking lot (which was basically all of the area at that time haha). It turns out to be Berthoud Pass which traverses the Continental Divide or Great Divide – it was named for the head surveyor for the Colorado Central Railroad who discovered the pass in the mid-1800s. That ridge is the dividing point from which water flows; on the western side the watersheds flow towards the Pacific Ocean, on the eastern side the watersheds flow towards the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Working as a surveyor (granted mostly aquatic, not terrestrial) and on the water, this was a super cool spot for me. Even if I didn’t realize it at the time – definitely took some googling to figure out exactly what I was looking at. Haha. When we stopped by there was a solid 4+feet of snow…I’m just shy of 5 feet, so I easily could’ve gotten lost!

I’m not gonna apologize for the number of snow pictures in this post…

We soon arrived in Winter Park and swung by Tim’s house to see Luna…who indeed was considerably bigger than the other two! When Pete told me Luna was the biggest, I had a hard time picturing it…until I saw her. She’s large and in charge and beautiful! We snagged a quick lunch in town, where I enjoyed one of the best margarita’s I’ve ever had…and as a tequila fan, I’ve had a lot of margs. The balance was oh so perfect.

View from Tim’s condo

Then we got back in the truck and headed toward Grand Lake to go snowmobiling. On the way out there, the conditions literally went down the shitter. There were quite a few times I almost suggested we just turn around…if it’s this bad here, it HAS to be bad where we’re going, right? Wrong.  It was absolutely gorgeous. We even had sun and clear skies at times! Could not have asked for a better day. The first place we arrived at told us we were 15 minutes from them closing, so while we technically could rent, we wouldn’t get to experience the full 2 hours of riding. However, the guy very nicely suggested we head up to the other outfit which was situated right at the trail head (I’m a little convinced he just wanted to go home a little early…but whatever, I won’t complain!). So off we went up the road to On The Trails rentals. As it turns out, it worked out perfectly and was WAY more convenient seeing as it was right on the trail head.

So we hopped on a tandem and off we went. Now first off, if you are to go snowmobiling as a lady, BE SURE TO WEAR A SPORTS BRA. You’ll thank me later. Not sure why I didn’t think of it before…let’s just say it was a bumpy ride, lol. It was maybe three turns into the trail when I literally had my life flash before my eyes…and my first thought was “Mike’s gonna kill me”…Mike being my boss and the one who has to come up with the schedule…and OSI has a bad history of being getting hurt during snowy activities. Haha. Some hot shot took a turn WAY too fast and was sliding straight toward us – if you look at Pete’s face in the later photos you can see the snow that got slingshot toward us in his helmet. Thankfully Pete got us out of the way and the guy managed to get his bike in control…but what a way to start a two-hour ride! Haha. Suffice it to say I had no desire to take control of the bike knowing those yahoos were out there…probably would’ve been fine on my own bike, but there’s something about having a second person you’re responsible for that changes the dynamic.

Forever taking the road less traveled

We eventually arrived at this beautiful field, the skies were cloudy and overcast, but it was absolutely gorgeous. So when Pete stopped the bike to take some photos, you have to assume that my top came off and a topless tour photo was taken (yes, it was cold). And as it always miraculously goes, I’m just sliding my multiple top layers back on when a bunch of guys ride up over the hill into the field. PHEW. Now when we rented the bikes, the guy told us to stick to the trails otherwise we’d get our bike stuck. Well we didn’t stick to the trail on the field (I’m pretty sure there’s a video of rule-follower-Corey yelling at rule-breaker-Pete for going off the trail haha) but as it turns out all was well. That time…

The next time we weren’t so lucky haha. We left the field and went down the hill and up an embankment (which was off the trail, but clearly well used) and then we missed the actual trail and ended up actually stuck in a ditch. We got ourselves unstuck, but it took a long ass while. However, I will say, if there’s anyone you wanna get your snowmobile stuck with, it’s probably PHB. He has enough experience and a handy-dandy foldable shovel that considerably aided our efforts to get the bike back on the trail. But those things are flippin’ heavy!

It’s hard to tell…but we were stuck in there. And it was some decently deep snow. Always fun to ditch the bike and be hip deep in snow. 😛 But I did ask for snow on the trip…I certainly got it in this moment!

However, the snowmobiling folks there were cool because anytime someone got stuck (we weren’t the only ones that day) it seemed that everyone who passed by pitched in to help out. Next time I’ll definitely just rent a solo one…will be just as much fun. Haha. But having said that, it was quite the exhilarating time to just forget about the world and enjoy the ride. All part of my learning how to give up control sometimes. Having said that, the girl said the loop should take like an hour and a forty or something. We got stuck and still did the loop in like an hour and change…so you can figure out how fast we were going. Haha. Not sure that snowmobiling would’ve been on my initial list of things to do while in Colorado, but I am most definitely happy that it happened!

Then we took a drive around the Grand Lake area lakes…SO PRETTY. If I didn’t need the ocean, I’d move out there asap. You just can’t describe how magnificent that area can be…especially with snow coating everything in sight. I grew up taking the road less traveled, so our slow meandering ride back to Tim’s fit me just fine. (Again, I’m not apologizing for the number of snow pictures…)

Then we enjoyed a brew at the local brewery, Hydeaway Park, (10/10 would recommend…the place was FILLED with dogs, be still my heart!) dinner at another local place, and finally went to relax with Luna and Tim. I set out to Colorado for snow and I most certainly got it that day!

Up Next: Snowshoeing in the Park and Farewell Colorado

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