When we signed up for a Colorado Masochists Club hike up Devil’s Canyon, temperatures were above freezing and the ground was dry. That changed.
The Fruita area, which some have referred to as the Icebox of the Grand Valley, got well over eight inches of snow followed by a week of subzero temperatures.
No worries, we thought. It will warm up and melt before our hike.
The leader was not going to let a little of that angelic white stuff keep us from experiencing the Devil’s very own canyon, so the trip was a go. We packed our hiking stuff, and in 14-degree temperatures under overcast skies, we made the 2.4-mile drive to the trailhead where we met the other seven members of our upcoming hike.
We put traction cleats on our boots, and after the usual introductions, we headed up the main trail, which was well packed by the footprints of numerous other hikers. At the appropriate junction, we broke off on the D3 trail that would take us up Devil’s. It, too, had been previously hiked and was easy to follow.
“Red hair and black leather, my favorite color scheme,” Richard Thompson sings in his tale about a 1952 Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle. We’ll, I’m kind of partial to red rock and white snow being my favorite color scheme.
When the sky cleared, the sun came out and the cliffs lit up. It was absolutely beautiful. It’s a good thing I only had my iPhone to record the scene. If I had a real camera with me, I’d still be up there snapping images. If it snows again, I’ll come back armed with the good stuff.
We trudged up the trail to an old cowboy line shack at the end of the loop. After lunch on the rocks, we headed back down the canyon past a hoodoo pillar that looks very much like an Easter Island moai.
The trip ended with a slog down through the canyon with numerous crossings of the half-frozen stream.
While the hike was only a bit over seven miles, walking on snow takes a bit more energy. We were pleasantly fatigued. Dianne and I sat on our folding chairs and took off our traction cleats. Finally, exerting maximum willpower, we eventually got back into the car for the long (2.4 miles) drive back home. Back in the trailer, I stripped to jammies, poured some wine and treated myself to a healthy dose of Morphine.
A long, long hot shower comes next.