Craig is twenty-three and in love. He is also from the Bahamas, which means he has never been snow shoeing, which is what we find ourselves doing during this great philosophical conversation. It’s our first snow shoeing adventure together at beautiful Mountain Park Environmental Center in Beulah, about 20 miles southwest of Pueblo on Highway 78.
“Don’t you think that muffin looks a little strange?” I say with a grin.
“What do you mean?” says Craig looking down at the muffin still in its plastic wrap.
“Well, it kinda looks like, well, you know…”
“Yeah somebody else already pointed that out to me. Look man, are you going to take this picture or not?”
“Do you think she made it like that on purpose?” I chuckle
“No…just take the picture!”
From that point forward I can hardy keep a straight face as we continue our trek down the path towards Devil’s Canyon. With lots of fresh snow from the week before and well-marked trails, thanks in part to the upkeep from MPEC and the cross-country skiers and snow shoeing folks who have gone before us, finding our way down to the canyon is relatively easy. I say relatively because at points on the hike I find myself sinking fast into the deep, wet snow, partly because I am 6’5 and 275 pounds and someone my size really ought to have 36-inch snowshoes instead of the 28-inch ones I rented. Next time, I will just strap a set of small kayaks to my feet and call it a lesson learned.
The other upside to the trip is the fact that Craig, who, besides being much younger and much more athletic than I am, has been sick for the past two days. This produces what I call the “Great Equalizing Effect.” There is nothing more invigorating than completely dominating your opponent up and down the side of the mountain, through snow drifts, over and under trees, while you are well…hiking. By the time we finish, Craig looks like a wet noodle and I think I might have to carry him out myself or build him a snow shelter or give him IV fluids or a hug… or something.
So we take our time, have a few snowball fights, eventually make our way down to the Canyon, and have a great time. On the way home, we stop into the Beulah General Store for some hot coffee to warm our bones. Craig, who’s still feeling a little queasy, settles for a Gatorade and a bag of Spicy Doritos. For our first snowshoeing adventure, we did not have to travel far (a 35-minute drive from my house on Abriendo), or spend a bunch of money (a pair of snow shoes and poles are only $10 a day rented them from The Edge on Union Ave.). Considering that the first of my winter outdoor adventures is a success, I begin to look forward to my next activity: winter mountain biking.
What to do: Snowshoeing
Where to do it: Mountain Park Environmental Center in Beulah
Where to get it and how much it will cost: The Edge (107 N. Union, 583-2021): shoes and poles $10 per day; MPEC, call 719-485-4444 for more info.
What to do after: For food and drink in Beulah, try the Song Bird Cafe, Beulah General Store or Beulah Inn.