I had never snowshoed before. Yet... I found myself standing in REI, staring at a whole wall of snowshoes, calculating the likelihood of getting lost in the woods during the snowy winter. I geared up, rented a pair of snowshoes, and packed up the car for an early morning drive up into Rocky Mountain National Park. My goal in 2017 was to spend more time outside, and I was going to follow through on that resolution.
With a 4am wakeup, my drive up to the park was quiet, with the sky slowly changing from a midnight black to a pale purple. Right as I rounded the corner into Estes Park and saw the Front Range, the sky lightened up to shades of pink and purple that made the mountains look incredible.
Once I was in the park, I drove up the fun windy road that leads to Bear Lake. The sun was starting to rise higher so I strapped on my snowshoes, took a couple of test steps, then decided to quickly check out Bear Lake before heading up to Dream Lake. I was rewarded with some great views and a few hikers in my photos.
The path up to Dream Lake was pretty interesting. For a first time snowshoer, it felt like I had to watch the past footprints in the snow carefully to make sure I was heading in the right general direction. There are virtually no other people on the trails before 9am, so I had the luxury of a whole forest to myself - and a few accidental detours along the way.
Dream Lake was gusty but beautiful once I reached its edge. The mountains capped in snow really make for a striking sight.
A leisurely drive down the winding roads of the mountains and a good playlist were the cherries on top of a perfect morning. On the way down, I had to keep stopping to take photos of the scenery.