Ouzel Trail - Snowshoeing

January 1, 2021 · Rocky Mountain National Park

The Ouzel Lake trail was the first trek of the 2021 season and has proven to be more difficult to reach Ouzel Lake in the Winter. The trail is a nice trail but is deceptively difficult in the Winter. Despite best intentions, I stepped onto the trail about an hour later than I planned, and by this time there were a surprising number of people on the trail for the first day of the New Year.

The weather was great; however, a good portion of this trail is on the North face and is in the shade. It had not snowed in several days and the trail was packed down and did not need to use snowshoes, I used traction spikes for this trek. When using only traction spikes on a well packed down snow trail, you tend to move faster, a lot faster for a Winter trek. As such, you tend to heat up faster and get sweaty. The downside to that is, that since this the first leg of this trail is in the shade, anytime you stop, you will ice up, regardless of the moisture-wicking layers.

The warmth and dryness on my legs was perfect, I tried out a new pair of baselayer leggings from Under Armor from their ColdGear collection, they are great. The temperature for most of the trek on the way in was round 29 degrees, I will be interested to see how these leggings hold up on colder, winder Winter treks.

It seems most of the people along the Ouzel trail go to the bridge at Ouzel Falls, from there traffic thins out dramatically. However, since I did this trek in traction spikes and tried to move as quick as I could through the first leg, I was out of gas just past the bridge. I stopped and had lunch just past the bridge and did not see a single person on this portion of the trail. I feel that if I had started an hour earlier, I could have pushed on, but as it turns out this New Year's Day trek came in at a respectable 8.6 miles roundtrip.

This was also the longest I had to wear a mask on the trail, there was a lot of people on the trail up to the bridge at Ouzel Falls. Wearing a mask on the trail does increase the overall difficulty of the trail. My takeaway from wearing a mask that long on the trail is: better to wear a mask and make breathing on the trail difficult vs. not wearing a mask on the trail with that many people during the pandemic and end up struggling to breathe two weeks later. Last early Spring I used an O2 deprivation mask during my at-home cardio exercise, I think it is time to re-add that to the at-home cardio routine. It does make long-haul treks a bit easier.

Hoping for a great, and safe year on the trail.


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AREAS HIKED

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness10
Eagles Nest Wilderness10
Fossil Ridge Wilderness1
Fraser Experimental Forest1
Gunnison National Forest1
Holy Cross Wilderness12
Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness3
Indian Peaks Wilderness17
James Peak Wilderness1
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness2
Mount Evans Wilderness2
Mount Massive Wilderness2
Pike National Forest1
Raggeds Wilderness1
Rocky Mountain National Park41
San Isabel National Forest6
Sangre de Cristo Wilderness2
White River National Forest10
Zirkel Wilderness1

TRAILS BY MONTH

January3
February2
March2
April3
May5
June16
July26
August26
September28
October6
November4
December3

SEASONS ON THE TRAIL

2021

The 2021 Season has started. Though the pandemic created a challenging 2020 season, I am looking forward to building on the 2020 season to create an incredible 2021 season. The pandemic has taught me a few things about when and where to go hiking. As such planning for the 2021 se...

2020

The 2020 hiking season has been incredible, even in the face of adversity. The pandemic has made for a logistically challenging season. Somehow, I was still able to piece together an incredible 230+ miles on the trail this season and able to see some truly spectacular places. Enj...

2019

The 2019 hiking season was an interesting season, this was the first season that I started and ended the season snowshoeing and a full summer of hiking for a total of just under 225 miles on the trail. What this season has taught me is that it's winter in the mountains for a long...

2018

The 2018 Summer Hiking Season has come to an end. What a season, incredible views and just over 230 miles on the trail. Even with 230 miles, this season seems short to me, perhaps I'll add something to it during the winter season - snowshoeing perhaps. In the meantime, I hope you...

2017

The 2017 hiking season was interesting, I was able to explorer more of Colorado's National Forests and get in some camping, not as much camping as I would have liked, but hopefully next year I'll able to get in more multi-day hikes. This season came in just under 129 miles roundt...

2016

The 2016 hiking season was about spreading out and exploring more of Eagles Nest Wilderness, Indian Peaks Wilderness and touching on White River National Forest - and of course a few trips into Rocky Mountain National Park. These are amazing National treasures. This season came i...

2015

The 2015 hiking season was a big hiking season, I decided to do a fundraiser for The Red Cross (I learned a lot about fundraising - it was very interesting) with my pledge to hike over 200 miles for this season, I came in at 217 miles for the season; what a great time out on the ...

2014

The 2014 hiking season was almost all about exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, it really is a beautiful park. What I learned during the course of this hiking season is, although people may roll their eyes when you say you're going on a hike in RMNP, it really is spectacular ...

2013

2013 is the year this all started. The hike to Pitkin Lake started it all. Although it was a difficult trail, I was hooked immediately. However, I didn't have the right gear and the seasons were changing quickly. So, even though this season only brought two hikes, I new this was ...