Frozen, Cold and Beautiful

Exploring the banks of the Poudre River on a winter morning.

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A little pre-holiday adventuring off Highway 14 on Poudre Canyon Road running towards Roosevelt National Forest, just outside of Fort Collins.

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Where it was still shaded from the mid-morning sun, the water was frozen over several inches thick. I was thankful for my wool blend base layers. It was still and silent, as if the river was asleep under an icy blanket.

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Where it was sunny, everything seemed normal. I wasn’t struggling so much with aperture settings. And I could feel my fingers on my camera.

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It was beautiful country and had countless side-road areas I’d never driven out to before. Off Highway 14, there were several pull-offs that enable you to walk down to the river and enjoy the scenery.

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The ice fascinated me more than the views actually. It was quite thick in places, so much so that you could walk out onto the water.

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I was taken by river rocks; their coloration and texture paired with the currents frozen around them fascinated me.

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While the intent was to actually head out on a hike, one can have just as good of a time wandering the pull-offs that dotted the road and never actually taking a trail.

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Just goes to show it’s worth it to leave a little room for changes in plans sometimes.

Snow Hiking in Boulder

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The NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) Trailhead off of Mesa Trail.

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The Mesa Trail system in the Boulder, CO area didn’t disappoint. Craggy mountain vistas, views of the city of Boulder, birds, spring growth, icicles and stunning evergreen forests abounded.

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The really great part about hiking in the Flatirons is that within the first 10-15 minutes of walking, you’re already seeing fantastic mountain views and photo opportunities from the trail.

At this elevation, just go ahead and keep the 45SPF with your trail bag.

A curious little fellow singing to the sun.

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The trails began out of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) property where we parked. It’s an easy drive from just about anywhere to get here and parking was plenty.

I’ve also found that while everyone is usually focused on their feet, it goes a long way to be friendly and thank those who stand to the side for you, offer a comment about spots to tackle with caution you just passed or where there’s an awesome camera shot ahead.

I’m surprised by how much plant life continues to flourish in the mountains under and through the snow as the seasons change.

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Admittedly, I was a bit worried that I would struggle with the winter out here and possibly find myself not enjoying it. But I love winter so far here! And for me this includes still getting out on weekends when to enjoy the gorgeous country that is just a few miles down the road.

A First, Frigid Venture

It’s a crying shame to move to one of the most beautiful places in the United States and not immediately spend every available opportunity venturing out to explore. Thus I found myself, several months after setting up shop here in Colorado, not having yet driven into the mountains to do any sight-seeing.

So I opened up Google maps, looked at surrounding towns within easy driving distance, and settled on Nederland, Colorado.

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After a roughly 45 minute drive northwest through the foothills and up into the mountains via more than a few gut-twisting turns and twists, I rolled into town.

It was far too brisk a day to comfortably get out and walk the downtown area (or anywhere outside the warm confines of my SUV), so the photography was mainly kept to the views of Barker Reservoir.

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It took a bit of time to be able to navigate to the top of the mountain roads open to public traffic in order to find an clear view from which to snap a picture or two.

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A bit further down near the reservoir itself, it was obvious that despite the bright sunshine and blue skies, the strong winds and chilly temperatures had kept the waters frozen over.

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It really doesn’t do the view here justice, but I attempted to capture a panoramic shot with my iPhone from atop the small cliff above the water’s edge.

I look forward to driving back soon to this beautiful place. The start of many new adventures to come!