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boulderWe returned to Peaceful Valley this morning for our final winter snowshoe before I head to Austin for three weeks.  This was our fifth weekend in a row.  Karen wanted to return to Beaver Reservoir and I wanted to return to Brainard Lake.  We opted for Peaceful Valley due to weather conditions.  We would not have been able to traverse the 2 mile county roads to either of the other two spots.  We couldn’t even drive onto the short road for Peaceful Valley.  We parked on the shoulder of the highway with our van pointed downhill in case we needed to push it out of the snow.

treeSnowshoeing down the road to the trail is about a 200 yard jaunt.  We only got about 50 yards before we had to stop and spend 15 minutes helping push a lady who got her Ford Explorer stuck in the snow.  She made the critical mistake of driving over the crest and couldn’t get back up the hill.  The new snow was too soft and deep.  I was burning up after that and hiked with my jacket unzipped.  We were in an odd weather inversion with the temperature warmer than 3000 feet lower in Longmont.  It was over 32° with zero wind.  I even took off my gloves.  The warmth was ironic given the thick clouds and falling snow.

oscar bluesPeaceful Valley has a good three or four feet of base snow now.  The most recent snow fall is super fluffy.  Middle St. Vrain Creek Trail was postcard perfect in the falling snow.  A few hikers in front of us laid the only tracks which helped ease our trek.  We continued beyond where they turned around though and blazed our own tracks.  The soft powder slowed us down considerably.  We made it as far as the intersection with the Sourdough Trail and turned back for an hour long outing.  I needed to dig out some snow in front of our tires with my snowshoes in order to get onto the road, but we made it home safely.  We stopped again for lunch at Oscar Blues in Lyons and were back home by 12:30.  It’s been a great winter snowshoe season.  Next time we’re up n the mountains will be late March or April.  I expect the snow to be even deeper then.