Urban Snowshoeing…Coyotes Optional
One of the pleasures, and be assured that there are so very few, of a one day 10″ snowfall in the Denver metropolitan area is that one can crack out the Redfeather snowshoes and trek locally through the ‘burbs. Sure, I prefer a winter hike near the frozen Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. At nine thousand feet and change, it’s exhilarating. Yet the two hour drive up US36 over two lane switchbacks of uncertain conditions motivates me to do this two times a year at best. Even as I post to Wild, Abandoned tonight (2011), the Denver Post is reporting that a back country skier in RMNP has taken a 900 foot tumble and is being conveyed toward the trailhead and to medical assistance by sled. By sled, he said. Godspeed. So, it can be dangerous, also.
|Get out your “webs.”|
With a little effort the winter hiker can find high snow pack closer to home. Golf courses, for instance, afford an expanse of undisturbed powder and large drifts after a mild blizzard. Walking the bordering roughs and streams, it’s not long before you feel like Robert Edwin Peary lighting out for the territories (sans his Inuit guides). The grounds receive no maintenance in the winter and even less attention from park attendants. I suspect this is a form of benign trespassing. To even walk across a public course in the late spring involves a $50.00 green fee.
There is an affluent suburb to the south of Denver which is effectively a semi-continuous golf course relieved occasionally by stands of $900,000.00 homes and Super Targets. It is a tragedy to imagine that these great tracts of gorgeously landscaped acreage would otherwise be left fallow and unused at the taxpayers’ (or club members’) expense. Especially when there is webbed winter walking to be done.
My alternate venue is a twenty-five acre unsettled roadside triangle steps from my front door. Well suited for a snowy romp in “webs,” it slopes down into the Little Dry Creek and affords a scenic tour aside a sometimes twenty to thirty-foot deep ravine. The tract has been slated for a development of faux Tuscan villa town homes for many years now. I suppose the deed holders are sweating out the recession. For now, it’s the neighborhood open space. (Editor’s note: Yep, it’s fully developed now in 2019). It is a doubly enchanting hike when you disturb a coyote den on the way down to the creek. These critters have never done more than stare me down for a moment. But I keep my distance, my hand firmly on my walking stock, and step away not as quietly as I’d hope to: crunch, crunch. This is their creek. I’ve met the actual deed holders and I know when I’m trespassing.