Ground Cloth to the Rescue at Mt Evans

Thursday February 5, 2015 comments

Photo Credit: Jason Geren

Like my friend Vince (see previous post on the Colorado Trail), I also sincerely enjoy snowshoeing in the winter.  It is a great way to get out on a winter day and enjoy the natural beauty of creation.  Unlike skiing or snowboarding where we often spend hours trying to reach our destination during the height of tourist season, most of our favorite snowshoe trails are just a short drive outside the city.  I can be on snow covered wooded trails or charting a course somewhere above tree-line just minutes after leaving my home in Denver.  Sometimes our snowshoe outings even get a bit more adventurous.  Last year Vince and his wife led a small group on journey that took us to a yurt located at over 13,000 feet in elevation.  The hike up with a full pack on snowshoes was a bit exhausting and left me breathless in the thin air, but what took my breath away even more was the spectacular view from our yurt as the sun set and the moon rose on our high-alpine panorama.  When I agreed to take the trip, Vince told me we only had to travel six miles and climb 2000 feet.  What he failed to mention was that the 2000 feet of elevation gain was all in the last mile.  Fortunately the view was so incredible that I immediately forgot my burning legs when I scanned the horizon. 

Earlier this week, I had a few hours to sneak away to the base of Mt Evans in the Arapahoe National Forest.  This is a beautiful part of the world and a great place to go snowshoeing on a safe, well-marked trail in the winter.  It was a typical sunny, bluebird day in the mountains with visibility all the way to Kansas.  I brought a visiting friend from Chicago to join in the fun who was of course taken aback by what he saw.

 In Vince’s previous blog, he talked about throwing all his wet snowshoe gear in his BigFoot Bag in the back of the car to keep things clean and dry.  This week, I want to talk about another use: the BigFoot Bag as a tarp bag or ground cloth bag.  We all know what it feels like to return to your vehicle after a long day in the outdoors, hunting, hiking, kayaking, or even snowshoeing.  I have some really comfortable boots, but for me, the first thing I want to do when I get back to my vehicle is strip off my heavy boots and gear.  The BigFoot Bag is ideal for doing just that.  Trying to change in the vehicle is always a challenge and sometimes physically impossible.  With my bag however, I have a clean, dry place to set my gear and sit as I transition into my driving attire.  I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but in Colorado it is totally appropriate to change in the parking lot of a trailhead.  Now I am not suggesting getting indecent, but here, fellow outdoor enthusiast wouldn’t bat an eye at another outdoor lover stripping off hiking pants or waders to change into comfortable sweatpants or jeans for the drive home.  I spared you the picture of me standing in my skivvies, but you can see how convenient it was for me to make quick transition in the parking lot for my ride back to the city after my day of snowshoeing earlier this week.  I walked away from the ordeal without banging my head on the roof or pulling my groin in the car as I contort my body in an extreme yoga pose trying to remove my snow pants.  I simply changed, threw my gear in my bag, zipped it up and off I went.