Steamboat, CO – Rabbit Ears Pass :)

My very first snowshoeing experience was an exciting adventure that completely changed the way I see things, especially nature. Never in my life had I been in a place so peaceful and so beautiful. Words can’t even describe the sites we witnessed. But it wasn’t all fun and games, and even though I spent a good hour afraid we might be spending the night in a homemade igloo, I still desperately find myself wanting to go back.

My boyfriend and I decided to make the 3 hour trip to Steamboat Springs, CO for our 1 year anniversary where I would try snowshoeing for the first time. It was also at this time that the Ice Castles had made it back to Colorado and I was so excited to see them, so that was the main reason we chose Steamboat. They did end up being quite beautiful, even though they weren’t fully developed yet.

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While the ice castle opening date just kept getting pushed back and pushed back until we had to extend our stay to see them, our snowshoe adventure happened quite differently. We had rented most of our gear, and my boyfriend being a little bit more experienced than myself helped me get my shoes tightened properly. We grabbed our poles and our plastic bottle of wine and headed out the door towards rabbit ears pass.

Now as I had said before, without a paid subscription to trails.com, I had a very hard time finding any good information on any snowshoe trails. I tried to find the easiest trail I could, which ended up being the North Loop which was said to be 3.5 miles and should only take about an hour and a half. This is not what happened. We aren’t exactly the early riser type, so by the time we got out the door it was probably already around 1pm. This is something I’m bound to change in the near future when making awesome snowshoe adventures. Also, we didn’t drive far enough to get to the North Loop and accidentally ended up at the West Summit Loop instead. I’m happy to say it wasn’t too difficult.

Everything started out great. We found a good parking spot at the head of the trail and started hiking our way up towards the first blue diamond mark. The blue diamonds are nailed to trees, and they’re supposed to be like your Hansel and Gretel crumb trail so you don’t get lost. In most cases, follow your diamonds and you should be just fine. Anyway, we hiked up quiet a ways and the entire time I was just LOVING it! Everyone I had talked to said that I would hate it, that it was too much work, it was hard and miserable, blah, blah, blah. It was none of those things! It was like hiking in the snow with special awesome shoes on! AND it was absolutely GORGEOUS!

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We were so secluded and alone on this giant beautiful mountain, it was absolutely incredible!

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We hiked right through these super tall trees that were really cool to walk under, it was great!

About halfway through we stopped, sat down, ate some snacks, drank some wine and enjoyed all the beautiful scenery. After about 2 and half hours I started wondering why it was taking us so long. We had to have missed one of our blue diamonds, which didn’t seem right, because we were still following blue diamonds, maybe it just took us longer than the website said, or maybe we were on the wrong trail entirely (we were). When the clock rolled onto about 5pm I started to freak out a little bit because it started to get dark. I just kept praying we would make it back to the car, and that we wouldn’t have to spend the night.

You see, I have a little bit of an anxiety problem, so when I say “freak out” I mean panic attack. Of course I do have several tools and techniques to help me, and we had all the proper equipment, and my boyfriend loves backpacking… so I didn’t feel like I was actually in danger, but I was definitely scared of it. Not to mention that because it was taking so long, I was extremely worried we’d end up in the wrong parking lot and not know how to get back to my car.

Shortly after taking out the flashlight to find our way, we did eventually make it to the correct parking lot. I was filled with so many emotions at that point. Usually I would end up disliking an activity that makes me panic, but in this case I was excited to do it again. I was grateful to be back at the car, I was happy the long haul was over, but I was overwhelmed with this wonderful excitement that I might actually have an interest in a winter sport. I wanted to do it again. I knew good things were coming, and started to get excited about the adventures ahead. I still am excited. And now with a fresh new look on life, I plan on making it a regular hobby. So buckle your seat-belts and get ready for some good new wonderful things :)

Be sure to check out the Trail Info for the trail we took.

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