Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Janet's Cabin Snowshoe and Nordic Ski Trail

"Whether you visit in the summer or in the winter, you will fall in love with this trail, the scenery, and the comfortable cabin."
happy snowshoers

Thus starts the description in the latest TrailKing trail guide on the Everytrail website.

It documents a recent snowshoe trek up to one of the Tenth Mountain Division mountain huts up in the Colorado mountains. The snow was plentiful, the scenery beautiful, and the air thin. I still have trouble believing that the snowshoe trip was only 5.5 miles. It seemed more like 55. And I wasn't even the one breaking trail. That would be the person in the front. I was the person in the back. Often way in the back.

But let's not discuss my winter out-off-shape blues. We're here to discuss trails, and this one was a doozy. It was well-packed on the way up since it had been a couple days since the last significant snow storm.

Janet's Cabin
Once we got to the cabin, we found it to be warm, comfortable, and spacious. Altogether, there were 20 of us staying there with 12 in our group and a couple smaller groups. On the second day there, we took a couple exploratory side trips, both on or near the track of the great Colorado Trail. The first one, we trudged through the snow toward Vail. On that little side trip, we experienced a phenomenon called "Wompf." I'm not sure I spelled it correctly, but it was quite the experience. Nine of us were standing around in snowshoes and, all of a sudden, "wompf," the snow just sort of gave way beneath our feet. Fortunately, we were not on much of a slope, so we didn't really go anywhere but straight down about a half inch. The same thing happened one more time on the trip. I guess you could say we experienced a mini-avalanche or mini-earthquake. Either way, it is an experience I won't soon forget.
snowshoe buddies

The second side trip was in the other direction, up to a pass between two mountains. The wind was howling and the snow was blowing, but it was gorgeous in a sort of winter blizzard sort of way.

That night, it started snowing and continued throughout the rest of our journey. We had quite a powdery expedition back down the trail and had to constantly look for landmarks so as not to get off track since our earlier tracks were completely covered with cold, fresh powder snow.

If you're interested in seeing a map of the snowshoe trip along with pictures and a more detailed written description, visit the latest Everytrail guide for Janet's Cabin.


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