Trails traveled: Mule Deer Trail, Blue Grouse Trail, Coyote Trail, Difficulty: Moderate/Hard (Blue/Black)
Loop, 7.6 miles round-trip, 1,270 feet elevation gain
Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Weather: Clear, Sunny
- Winter Hike
- Traction Device
- Scenic Overlook
- State Park
After more than a month and half without any outdoor excursions in the mountains, I finally got outside today to go on a hike at Golden Gate Canyon State Park northwest of Golden, Colorado. While it has be an unusually warm winter without many snowstorms, this hike still had a lot of snowpack and ice despite the temperatures in the 40s.
Expecting the snow and ice, I bought myself a birthday present, some Yaktrax ice traction device. They slip-on over any shoes, including boots and instantly improve your traction when you walk on ice and snow. I also brought along my poles for increased stability. One section of the hike was rated difficult (black) but I never had any trouble with slipping and sliding at any point during the hike thanks to the traction device and poles.
What I’ve found about hiking regularly is that you don’t need all the equipment right away. You don’t need to be fully decked out on your first expedition outdoors. Start small, buy yourself a nice pair of boots, and then go on an easy hike. A month or so later, buy some poles and try out a more challenging hike. If you take this approach, you can ease yourself into the sport and not break the bank. After about a year of regularly hiking and getting things you need here and there, you find that you have all the gear you need, and are just maintaining your stuff, replacing things as they break or wear out.
There wasn’t too many people out on the hike, despite it being so warm, clear and sunny today, which was a bit surprising. However, sometimes that extra piece of gear deters people from venturing out. The traction device didn’t break the bank, and I was really jonesing to get outside. It was worth the investment that I will likely use for the duration of the winter, and likely for years beyond.
I am feeling a good sore from all the time off and the decently long hike, but it is well worth it!