The snowshoeing season has officially begun! And for some reason I chose a long trail, to Lake Isabelle inside of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The weather was perfect, a lot of sun, and it had been snowing for the past two days. The wind was strong the closer I got to Lake Isabelle. In the winter the length of the trail to Isabelle Lake effectively doubles given that you need to start at the winter trail head. But that turned out to be okay, as the first 2.5 and last 2.5 miles are very flat.
I got a late start on this trail, late by exactly one hour, the amount of time I wasted not wanting to get out of bed. However, for a long snowshoeing trek of 11.7 miles it went fast, coming in at about 8.5 hours round trip. There wasn't a lot of people on the trail, I suspect that given the snow that been building in the mountains for the past two days, most people headed to the ski resorts. That helped make this first snowshoeing trek of the season all that more special.
There wasn't a cloud in the sky for the first part of the trek, although the wind was fierce in many places along the trail. But a good portion of the trail is in tall thin - stands of conifers, so you could almost always see the big blue sky. At Long Lake the wind swept across the frozen lake. The lake ice is already thick enough for ice fishermen, I did see three of them the ice. They didn't have wind tents, that must have been very cold.
The weather started out at 22 degrees then up to about 48 degrees then on the way back once the sun sets, the temperature drops quickly and shortly after sunset, it gets dark very fast. Knowing that I didn't have a lot of light to deal with, given that at this time of year it is dark by 5pm, there aren't a lot of pictures. Thankfully, I did make it to Lake Isabelle before the sun went down. The Indian Peaks are spectacular with a fresh dusting of snow.
I had a quick lunch at along the shore of the now frozen Lake Isabelle. The wind howled at times, with intermittent breaks. You could tell when the next blast of wind would come as the peaks of Indian Peaks would smoke with wind blowing snow off them.
This trek was also an opportunity to try out a lot of new clothing. There is a problem with one or two items, the mid-layer and the outer layer. They retain moisture, I have never been that soaking wet on a snowshoeing trek. I need to work that one out quickly, hypothermia is a real concern at this time of the year.
By the time I made it back to the Summer trailhead, the sun had just set and was getting colder and darker by the minute. Thankfully the last 2.5 miles went fast, but I did finish well after dark. Aside from issues that need to be worked out with the mid-layer and the outer layer it was a great, and long first snowshoe trek of the season. Check out my GPS tracks here.