I am an idiot. You heard it here first. (Ok, probably not.)
It was another beautiful day here, 65 with nary a cloud in sight. While aesthetically pleasing, the weather is hardly conducive to good skiing. (I know, poor me) After a couple of ice and slush filled hours on the slopes, I decided to bag it and head back towards Glenwood Canyon. There is a fairly popular hike in the Canyon to Hanging Lake that I had heard great things about and wanted to try. The hike is only about 2 1/2 miles roundtrip, but ascends something like 1600 ft. The first thing I learned after embarking on the hike was that skiing, while fun, is worthless as aerobic exercise. About fifteen minutes in and I could literally feel the fat dripping off my heart. The second thing I learned was that, although it was 65 and sunny at the base, once under a tree canopy and a thousand feet higher, the temperature plummets. (Hence the "I am an idiot" part) My learning was not yet complete, for I also learned that, at this time of year, what is probably a moderate hike under normal circumstances becomes akin to walking up a luge run. Regardless, I did eventually make it to the top, and was well rewarded. The lake resulted from the collection of water in a fault, and the shore was bulit up by mineral deposits. The result is an idyllic lake of a fantasy like blue-green hue, complete with trout, a waterfall, breathtaking views of the canyon, and a mini waterfall/stalactite formation.
That was all well and good, but the luge run did me no favors on the walk down. (Who's bright idea was it to wear worn out tennis shoes?) I only managed to slip on the ice approximately 42 times, including one particularly fetching display where I managed to cut my hands to the point of bleeding on the ice. Worth it? Of course. But I think I'll wait for the snow to melt before I go back.
Related thought: All throughout Glenwood Canyon are signposts lauding this portion of I-70 for being the most environmentally conscious interstate in the country. This actually has some merit, as it was also the most expensive stretch of highway built due to the money spent figuring out ways to route the road that minimized environmental disturbance. That being said, isn't an environmentally conscious interstate a bit like an honest crook? I mean, at the end of the day there is still a bloody four lane highway running through the pristine beauty of the canyon.... [cue Joni Mitchell] Time to take four advil and call me in the morning.