Wednesday, February 03, 2016


I think I've had more snow adventures in the past week and half than I have in the past 3 years.  I suppose it's due more to happenstance than anything, ie I've had various friends up for various adventures in the snow.

First was a little trip up to Eldora (about 40 minutes drive up into the high country) for some snow shoeing at Jenny Creek Trail.  I ended up hiking in Yax Trax because the trail was compacted enough that snowshoes were overkill.  Though I did end up post holing up to my knee when I wasn't paying attention and stepped into the uncompacted powder at the side of the trail.

A few days later was a trip to Devils Thumb which is a nordic ski area about 2 hours away, just past Winter Park.  I ended up skiing for 2 1/4 hours at around 8700' elevation.  This amounted to a measly 6.1 miles and I could barely move afterwards.  Have only skied once so far this winter on a nearly flat course in North Boulder Park for 45 minutes.  But we'd driven all that way and were having such fun, what's a few days of being sore?  It was a beautiful day, low 20's but sunny and didn't feel cold at all.  Snow was a bit icy for me in places but mostly not a problem.

Devil's Thumb Ski Area

The drive over Berthoud Pass

A spectacular day overall, seized up hamstrings notwithstanding.

Then a couple days later I left for a whirlwind tour of Durango/Cortez/Dolores.  It's an area that I'm interested in possibly moving to so we spent the time mostly driving through potential neighborhoods though we did make time for a short 1 hour fat biking adventure.  It was only a 3 day trip cut short by an approaching snowstorm (10"-20" predicted for Cortez area) though 3 days of driving is plenty for me (7 1/2 hours of driving to get to Cortez).

We spent the first night in Durango where they were having some 80's themed winter festival.  I so wish I hadn't been so tired because I would have loved to attend the 80's Drag Strip competition.  We saw some of the contestants in the street while looking for a place for dinner but I didn't know what it was about until the next day.  Plus being so tired, I was in my jammies before the competition even started.

Downtown Durango

Last summer Jonny and I made a trip to Pagosa Springs and Durango and our impression of Durango was that it was crowded, built-up and expensive and my impression this time around wasn't much different.  Though to be fair the festival may have lured more people than normal to town but it seemed most folks were there to ski Purgatory, a resort about 30 mins. or so from Durango.  Still it was interesting to check out some different areas and confirm that this probably won't be our final destination.

Next it was on to Dolores, a place I've never been.  The main attraction here is a trail system called Boggy Draw as well as a huge reservoir that allows for open water swimming in summer.  We rented fat bikes in Cortez and checked out the groomed fat bike trails in Boggy Draw.

So Much Fun

There were a couple deer legs along the trail but I didn't see any kitties.

I've got some Go Pro video footage but that'll have to wait for another day.  Still need to process it.  I'm also going to put together a video of the area from my dashboard camera.  Sometime.  Eventually.

Dolores is a small, unassuming little town.  The Boggy Draw trails are at the top of the cliffs, about 3 miles drive from town.

It's about 10 minutes or so from Cortez which is larger and has pretty much everything we need including public indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a groovy bike store and a farmer's market in the summer.  Horses, goats, chickens, donkeys, is it too late to start a hobby farm in your 50's?  And of course a dog agility field of my very own.

There's a lot of affordable housing between Dolores and Cortez.  We could easily afford 5-10 acres if not more.

The best part though is the access to so many awesome areas within an hour or two including Lizard Head Wilderness area and Telluride and a bunch of places in Utah and even Durango is just 50-60 minutes away.  I ran into a guy in the parking lot who was also finishing up his fat bike ride and it turned out he was a member of the cycling group that grooms the trail as well as a lifelong resident of Dolores.  He told me about so many biking and skiing trails.  SO many.  We could easily spend the rest of our lives exploring.  And the San Juans!  They are spectacular.  If I had to choose a favorite Colorado mountain range it would be the San Juans.

The view from the outskirts of Cortez.  Mesa Verde National Park is behind those cliffs.

On our drive home we stopped in Mancos, a little artist-ey sort of town about 10 minutes from Cortez.  Probably too small for us and too far from trails but a neat little place to visit and not totally off our list yet.  And they had some kind of organic food grocery store that looked promising.

Outside the coffee shop in Mancos

Sunrise in Mancos

Overall a lot of good info. gleaned from a short little trip.  The guy from Dolores put my mind at ease about a lot of questions I had about water, fracking, trails, etc.  Of course we'll need a few more trips out there but it was good to see these places in winter.  Will be interesting to see them again in summer but so far I'm feeling encouraged.

Then yesterday was yet another skiing adventure.  We had 15"-16" of snow in North Boulder and after an asston of shoveling I treated myself to 1 1/2 hours at North Boulder Park.  Where there were Too Many People and I was longing for the serenity of Boggy Draw.

But again, not complaining.  Was happy to be able to ski less than 10 minutes from my house.  All the shoveling and skiing jacked up my neck though.  Feels better today but had to skip swimming at masters.  Hopefully will be better for Friday's masters workout.  Plus it would be nice if I could turn my head to the left.


  1. Nice pictures! Dolores looks like an interesting place to move to; I would move there right away from what your photos show. I have heard a lot of people complaining about how Boulder changed over the years; it's a sad thing, but it happens everywhere. Though I wouldn't have thought that it'd be that "bad" in Boulder. Have you thought about crossing the border, NM or Utah have equally great spots for our kind of outdoor people, don't they?

  2. Absolutely, Boulder is not bad. It's just not as good as it used to be and nobody likes to feel a decrease in their quality of life. And I don't think I'm stuck here so I figure why stay somewhere that is super expensive when I can move somewhere better that is not anywhere near as expensive? And it's only getting worse, not just here but the whole Front Range (ie Denver, Fort Collins and surrounding suburbs). Traffic, air pollution, Too Many People on the trails, etc.

    I love Ogden, Utah where they have Xterra Nationals but the air quality and sprawl are terrible, all the way to Salt Lake City. Park City is supposedly o.k. for air quality but it's an expensive ski town. There are areas around it that are cheaper, I have a friend in Heber City and she loves it, but those areas look kinda expensive as well though we might check them out, definitely on our list.

    New Mexico is very desert-ey and I don't care for the desert. I love to visit it but don't want to live in it, especially in summer, it's way too hot. There's also more crime and drugs in NM. I went hiking outside of Albuquerque once and the trailhead was littered with trash and maybe even needles? Can't exactly remember. Areas of NM are nice but I love Colorado.