May Day Weekend Backpacking…on skis!

My plans for the weekend changed multiple times.

The snow accumulation increased with each report. What to do…what to do.

Red rock country near the Utah/Colorado border?  Nope. Roads are going to be muddy. Even with 4WD, good chance I’ll get stuck per the BLM.

Maybe start from another trailhead near a paved road? Hmm…I suspect I-70 will be a mess anyway.

How about a WSA I’ve wanted to check out? Looks like 30s and 40s and rain. Mmm..naaah.

How about a overnight backpacking trip on skis?  Why yes, that should work.

I needed an overnight trip. And this would be a way to get that overnight time.

Winter gear was swapped in, skis were waxed and a route was planned.  A friend joined me for the trip.

As we headed up Boulder Canyon and into Ned, the snow became better. Still looked wet, but was otherwise winter-like conditions on the last day of April and into May.


We pushed into the wilderness area and was, very briefly, able to follow the trail.

However, it soon became easier to follow the drainage rather than look for the trail under several feet of snow.

We soon pushed above to the cusp of treeline to reach our destination at Coney Lake.

And after many “I think it almost here”…we were eventually right. 🙂

The view from the lake was wonderful. A winter delight and not expected this late into the year. Despite the cold and the wind, it a place where we lingered. But eventually we had to move on.

Rather than push on to the upper lake, where there was no doubt even more wind, we decided to turn around and make camp in the trees below.


A suitable camp was made. We were protected from the wind and were in good position to make our way back in the morning.

We each cooked our hot meals and savored the warmth.

After dinner, talking and enjoying a hot drink, it was time to call it a night.

The following morning, we made our way back in what could best be described as overcast conditions.

After some a little more ski-schwacking, we made it back to Coney Flats. From this point, we would be following well used trail back to the car.

One last look was taken up the valley before heading back.

Our skis iced up a bit and the going was not quite as fast as we expected.

No matter. It was still a fun and beautiful ski back.

The car was soon reached and we made our way into town for a well deserved AYCE buffet.

Another great trip.

Will another spring storm happen? Who knows.

But there is always a way to be out in the Colorado backcountry.


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