06 March 2017

Stardate 2017.178

Sunrise on 14,267-foot Torreys Peak and 14,270-foot Grays Peak; elevation ranks of 11 and 9, respectively.

I Wish I Lived In The High Country

Snowcatcher and I did some cross-country skiing recently. We celebrated a belated Valentine's Day and got in some cross-country skiing on Grand Mesa, Colorado. The Grand Mesa towers close to 11,000 feet above my home town. It often receives copious amounts of snow and is a delightful area to visit and play. The road up the north side by bike is often considered one of the top three most difficult climbs in the state. I can vouch that the climb does indeed hurt.

We left the Denver metro area around 5 a.m. and reached Frisco, Colorado, just in time for a beautiful sunrise. Touching the sky on the left is 13,370-foot Mount Guyot (rank 344). The peak on the right is the terminus, and northern summit, of 13,684-foot Bald Mountain's long ridge.

Cross-country skiing on the "Mesa" was primarily backcountry touring (i.e., you took turns breaking trail) in the early years. Portions of the area now are groomed for skate skiing (below pic) and classic Nordic skiing.

Mechanically formed furrows for classic kick-and-glide skiing are parallel to the skate ski routes.

The Grand Valley lies below the escarpment (Bookcliffs) in upper center to upper center right.

Grand Mesa is flat, undulating between 10,500- and 11,000-feet of elevation. The deciduous trees are aspens.

Still wild and wooly, the mesas, plateaus and canyons of northwest Colorado rise in the distance.

Glade skiing can be at its finest here. Today's snow ranged in depth from 4.5 feet to 5.5 feet.

Here's a snow-corralled parking area.

Thanks for reading.


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