Rau: It’s still fall but winter is coming | SkyHiNews.com

Rau: It’s still fall but winter is coming

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails

Diana Lynn Rau

The glorious colors of fall are starting to pass into winter shades of white. Many of the beautiful leaves now lay on the ground to return to the dirt they came from and the earth starts into its period of rest and regeneration.

The gorgeous colors of fall are still vibrant at lower elevations but the high country is already wearing a coat of white that comes and goes for the next couple of weeks. Fall hiking and biking can be exciting as you pass from zone to zone but you need to take care for more layers and more attention to the ten essentials. The morning chill gives you shivers as you stare at the white coat on the ridges and mountain peaks and wonder when it is here to stay.

The summer bike groups are wrapping up. Fall rides are more exciting sliding on the leaves and occasional patches of ice. Some hiking groups are still going strong and the newer groups that sprung from the old Tuesday group have already given way to more diverse groups. Grand Outdoors for many years was led by Pat Berman as her way of sharing hiking experiences with others in the county. A group of 8-12 hikers met every Tuesday throughout the summer through September. They hiked 8-10 miles usually to a destination like a beautiful alpine lake, a cascading waterfall, an inspiring view. Along the way they identified wildflowers, took pictures, shared thoughts and enjoyed the journey as well.

Other groups have broken off, people who wanted to go faster, people who wanted to go farther, or not so far. The Friday hikers with Cyndie, Betsy, Janna, Gail, Rita, Christine and more have been together now for years and become best friends. People just need to find someone who wants to go their pace, see things along the way or get to that destination. Church groups have been going for years as well as the Red Hats. People who live in Grand County need to find friends of like mind and get outside. Many of these groups keep going into winter and start snowshoeing , cross country or alpine skiing together. It's a relaxing and, for some people, a time of peace and quiet and good companionship that is something they look forward to and why they live here.

“Fall hiking and biking can be exciting as you pass from zone to zone but you need to take care for more layers and more attention to the 10 essentials. The morning chill gives you shivers as you stare at the white coat on the ridges and mountain peaks and wonder when it is here to stay.”

But the snows of winter will soon be arriving. Think about your ski gear, clothing and other equipment. The Annual Ski and Board Swap benefiting the WP Competition Center is Friday and Saturday at the Winter Park Resort. Devils Thumb is holding a sale on last year's gear and clothing Friday, Oct. 9, from 6-8:30 p.m. at their Nordic Center. Older rental gear will also be available for sale as well.

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Friday, Oct. 30, Grand Nordic will have their Annual Nordic Ski Swap at the YMCA Nordic Center from 6- 8:30 p.m. with gear from Devils Thumb, YMCA-Snow Mountain Ranch, Winter Park Trading Company, and offers the opportunity for individuals to sell personal gear and clothing as well. Contact president@grandnordic.org or call 970-887-0547 for more information.

Nordic Ski conditioning classes are available at the Grand Park Rec Center as well as a series offered by Devil's Thumb starting this Sunday 10-11:30 a.m. Get ready to hit the snow with leader Jessica Jortberg who was a former DU skier and a member of the 2014 NCAA National Championship Nordic Ski team. She presents Nordic-specific exercises to help you transition from summer to winter Sundays through Nov. 29. Sign up at http://www.devilsthumbranch.com or call 970-726-8231 for rates and more information.

I'll present information on free kids lessons, rec district programs for elementary school kids, Junior Racing programs at both the YMCA and Devil's Thumb and more in upcoming articles. All programs are both midweek and, new this year, a Junior Nordic Team will meet eight Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. at Devil's Thumb. Call Devil's Thumb at 970-726-8231 for more information, schedules, pricing and to register.

Get those kids outside and open up a lifetime of enjoyment both as individuals craving exercise or just special family time. Read articles from Search and Rescue and learn how to be safe in the outdoors. We have many people in this Valley who are willing to share their experiences and who are worth listening to.

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