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 Polar goes hiking: Herman Gulch, CO (3/29/2012)

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Polar
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Join date : 2012-02-25
Location : Castle Rock, CO

PostSubject: Polar goes hiking: Herman Gulch, CO (3/29/2012)   Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:38 pm

Since I will start working next week, I decided to go hiking somewhere in the mountains while I still have a little free time. I checked out a book called "Canine Colorado" from the local library, which lists a lot of things to do with your dog in Colorado. Herman Gulch had a high rating in the book, plus it is easily accessible from I-70, so I decided to do it.

We've been having 70-degree days in Denver for close to a month now, I thought the snow should be thinning out by now on the mountains. So I didn't bother to bring snow shoes. Turned out I was very wrong...


At the beginning of the hike, Polar was happy to see some patches of snow.







Great weather, mine was the only car in the parking lot when I pulled in, so didn't see anyone on the hike in.











The snow was getting icy under the shade. I put on a pair of Yak Trax, which worked fairly well on the icy bits.







Bird?











I'm getting mostly butt shots on this trip...































The snow was still pretty firm early in the morning, so I had no problem walking on the crust even without snow shoes.



But as the day went on, the temp started rising, I started postholing.



First, it was maybe every ten steps, I'd punch through the crust and posthole to my thighs.



Then it slowly became every five steps.



Every couple of steps.



At the end I was high stepping every step, basically doing the stair master on pretty much flat ground.



It was exhausting work, I decided I had enough and turned around.



Taking a break.















By the time I got here, the snow had soften up from the sun, and I was postholing every step.







Last shot of the scenery before the camera's battery died.



So in terms of preparedness, it was a rather sad day.

Failure #1: No snow shoes. I'll chalk that one up to being from Florida.

Failure #2: My camera ran out of juice 1/3 into the trip. No worries! I brought back up! So I thought. After changing out the batteries, the camera died within 30 secs... what I thought was freshly charged batteries turned out to be the set I drained from last time! Doh!!

Therefore, much of the trip went undocumented, which is too bad cuz we went on a little an adventure. After I decided that I had enough of postholing in thigh deep snow and turned around, I stuck to the edge of the snowfield and the trees, where the snow was thin to make it easier on my thighs. Then I spotted a fairly steep gully with pretty solid snow, so I decided to climb up the gully to gain the small summit to our north. After getting up the summit, which I'd say is roughly around 12,000 feet, I made a beeline for the parking lot down a different gully, which I believed would bring me back to the trail I was on. I was right on that count, but I didn't realize the snow was much deeper and softer in this gully. After a bit of a struggle going down this gully sinking to my thighs every time I step down, I decided to glissade down the snowfield, which worked really well. Even Polar took the cue and started glissading down on her belly. After regaining the trail I was on, we were back in the car shortly, with just enough time to drive back to Denver and avoid the worst of the rush hour traffic. Good trip, all things considered.
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cmanding
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Female Join date : 2010-10-12
Location : Denver, CO

PostSubject: Re: Polar goes hiking: Herman Gulch, CO (3/29/2012)   Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:54 pm

Fun pics!

Hubby and I were going to do this trail on Friday on our way to the Ritz for the weekend for our anniversary. The temps supposed to drop tomorrow and stay cool but I think it warms up a little again toward the end of the week. Do you think we should pack in our snowshoes and throw them on when we need to? Would the pups be OK farther in on the trail where you started postholing more often?

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Polar
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Join date : 2012-02-25
Location : Castle Rock, CO

PostSubject: Re: Polar goes hiking: Herman Gulch, CO (3/29/2012)   Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:13 pm

@cmanding wrote:
Fun pics!

Hubby and I were going to do this trail on Friday on our way to the Ritz for the weekend for our anniversary. The temps supposed to drop tomorrow and stay cool but I think it warms up a little again toward the end of the week. Do you think we should pack in our snowshoes and throw them on when we need to? Would the pups be OK farther in on the trail where you started postholing more often?

If I were to do this trail again in a week, I would definitely bring snow shoes. It's better to have them but not need them, than to need them but not have them.

Polar was postholing too, but not as bad as I was. She only went in as far as her belly, and being on four legs, her weight was spread out more so she was punching through the crust a lot less than I was.
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harrise
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Male Join date : 2009-06-16

PostSubject: Re: Polar goes hiking: Herman Gulch, CO (3/29/2012)   Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:25 pm

How was the depth hoar? Did it pack with each step? It was all loose and free where we were on Saturday even at a slushy 50 degrees. It was borderline dangerous for the dogs. Plowing Styrofoam from the human knees up after 11:00am. Plunge stepping in watery crystals on the descent doesn't begin to describe the mess we were in. Man it was hot out there this weekend.

Now I see why all the recent reports are ski descents of Herman.
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cmanding
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Female Join date : 2010-10-12
Location : Denver, CO

PostSubject: Re: Polar goes hiking: Herman Gulch, CO (3/29/2012)   Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:53 pm

@Polar wrote:
@cmanding wrote:
Fun pics!

Hubby and I were going to do this trail on Friday on our way to the Ritz for the weekend for our anniversary. The temps supposed to drop tomorrow and stay cool but I think it warms up a little again toward the end of the week. Do you think we should pack in our snowshoes and throw them on when we need to? Would the pups be OK farther in on the trail where you started postholing more often?

If I were to do this trail again in a week, I would definitely bring snow shoes. It's better to have them but not need them, than to need them but not have them.

Polar was postholing too, but not as bad as I was. She only went in as far as her belly, and being on four legs, her weight was spread out more so she was punching through the crust a lot less than I was.
Thanks for the heads up!

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Join date : 2012-02-25
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PostSubject: Re: Polar goes hiking: Herman Gulch, CO (3/29/2012)   Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:55 pm

@harrise wrote:
How was the depth hoar? Did it pack with each step? It was all loose and free where we were on Saturday even at a slushy 50 degrees. It was borderline dangerous for the dogs. Plowing Styrofoam from the human knees up after 11:00am. Plunge stepping in watery crystals on the descent doesn't begin to describe the mess we were in. Man it was hot out there this weekend.

Now I see why all the recent reports are ski descents of Herman.

No it didn't pack at all, it was all airy beneath the crust, like you're stepping into a big air bubble. Maybe it will be better with today's cold snap.
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massak
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Location : almost heaven wv

PostSubject: Re: Polar goes hiking: Herman Gulch, CO (3/29/2012)   Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:04 pm

careful with the doggie postholing in the corn snow! ive seen dogs get temporary injuries around here that way. polar looks happy getting to be the dog he is meant to be!
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