High Mountain Doings

From 8200 feet along one side of the Upper Arkansas River Valley in central Colorado, my blog is about many things: travel including river and bicycle trips, and other experiences as well. The focus is on photography, not lots of text.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Storm on Old Monarch, Friday Feb 16

Today I went skiing up the Old Monarch Pass road again. I had a little more time than I expected, so I went all the way up near the summit. I didn't go the last 200 yards because the snow was drifting real badly up there.

Dark cloud fragments would sweep up over the ridge from the Gunnison side. Snow would whirl and drift. Sometimes the snow would be picked up by what looked like the winter equivalent of dust devils. This was powerful and exciting.

It also made me ask myself, "What am I doing here?" Though just a mile from other people (on one of the ski runs at Monarch) the whole place had a spooky quality about it. I made my photographs, and headed back toward my truck.

Going downhill was delightful. It was kick and glide skiing all the way!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Annual February Warmup

It seldom fails! During the month of February, we normally experience a warmup for about a week, maybe two if we're lucky. Then winter comes back!

This is our snowpack on February 8th. A month ago, all these bushes were covered! The melting snow is making some places rather slushy, but warmer weather is very welcome right now.

The view here is generally south, toward the last sunlight on the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Cold Day on the Mountain

Monarch Ski and Snowboard Area (on Highway 50 in Colorado) was a cold, gray place this afternoon. I stopped there to talk with Anrahyah, intending to go a mile farther up the road to cross country ski.

Some of their school kids were sitting in the lodge anyway, so she was about to take them and head for home. Wise choice today! The wind outside was bitter cold, and Anrahyah massaged a girl's chilly feet while we talked. Riding the ski lift was said to be the worst--hanging in the wind, not able to move much.

I drove up to the Old Monarch Pass road for some cross country skiing, but that didn't last very long. I almost turned around while just walking up the hill from the highway to put my skis on. Skiing along the road through the forest wasn't bad, but then the road turns and would parallel the wind the rest of the way! Within about 30 feet it had become too bitter for fun, with blowing snow. So back down I went. There will be nice days, and I'll go again.