When College Kids from Texas try to Brave the Colorado Snow

You have to admire the audacity.

There’s a trail in Nederland, CO called Fourth of July Trail.

It leads up to something called Diamond Lake, and it’s well-known for being beautiful.

Jonathan is in Colorado visiting me and at the very beginning of his trip he brought it up as one of the main things he wanted to do. He’s pretty outdoorsy, so it made sense.

So, we planned a trip out there.

Around 10:30 Saturday morning I picked him up from where he was staying and off we went, me with one hand clutching a tumbler full of coffee and the other scrolling through Spotify to find music, him driving (because he knows I hate driving and he’s a good boyfriend).

It hadn’t snowed in about a week and it was sixty degrees outside. I’m not even from around here originally, and even I know that’s rare.

And Nederland is beautiful. It’s a sleepy little mountain town not far from Boulder (we didn’t have to drive more than an hour) with a definite hippie vibe.

So at this point we were feeling pretty confident.

That’s his confident face.

The snow was getting much thicker on the ground now, but my Ford Escape was sliding over it with ease. It was a bumpy ride, but nothing concerning.

We were getting views like this:

 

Finally we reached Fourth of July Road.

And…

That’s when things started to go a little bit south.

I guess we overestimated my Escape. It has all-wheel drive, and that probably gave me a bit of false security.

Fourth of July Road goes on for about four miles before you get to the trailhead. After tottering over the snow for what felt like an hour, we had driven approximately 1.1 miles of that.

To be honest, it kind of felt like a miracle that we made it that far. I kept thinking, “What if we don’t make it?” but there were tire tracks ever before us, meaning someone out there had made it. Meaning it could be done.

And then it happened. Obviously.

My tires got stuck.

Luckily we could still go backwards, so Jonathan put it in reverse…until we got stuck going backwards, too.

At this point my coffee was kicking in in a major way, so I left to go find a nice patch of snow behind a tree, if you know what I’m saying.

Even just that journey alone was kind of horrifying. I hadn’t realized while we were in the car just how deep the snow really was, but walking in it, my feet sunk down until the snow was almost to my knees.

When I got back to the car, two people (who, to this day, we’re pretty sure were angels) were helping Jonathan with the shoveling and the logistics of what needed to happen next. They looked very mountain couple-y—the type of people who probably live in a mountain cabin for most of the year.

For a moment I wondered how long I had been gone, and then I walked up to the little group to attempt to help.

Luckily, the mountain couple (I think their names were Scott and Sandy, although there’s some debate between Jonathan and I if her name was Sandy or Cindy) knew exactly what they were doing, and after a 16-point turn where I was in the driver’s seat steering and Jonathan and Scott were pushing the car, we were out of the worst of it.

I wish I would have gotten a picture of all that happening, but instead what I can offer you is this semi-ominous picture of Fourth of July Road that I got on the drive back:

 

The Promise of Pizza and Beer

If you ever go to Nederland, go to Crosscut Pizzeria and Taphouse.

As we made our way defeatedly back through Nederland, one simple sign stood out among all the rest:

“Pizza and Beer”

Like a beacon in the wilderness.

Obviously we stopped there. I was about to order my usual go-to cider, but decided to try kombucha instead. Their kombucha of the day was berry lavender, and it was exactly what I needed, let me tell you.

I also opted for the basic cheese pizza with a gluten free crust (because I’m THAT problem child whose stomach can’t handle…you know…that spicy gluten) and I would definitely recommend it. It wasn’t even all that pricey if you stick to one or two toppings, so that was nice.

The hike we did instead

On the bright side, our stomachs were full of pizza. On the not-so-bright side, at this point it was about 2 in the afternoon and we still hadn’t done any actual hiking.

Luckily, we weren’t far from Boulder–which, let me remind you, was a toasty 60 degrees that day and snow-free.

So, we headed for Flagstaff Mountain.

Hike: Tenderfoot Trail Loop

Distance: 2.2 miles

Difficulty: Easy (except for one Godforsaken calf-burning stretch of it that goes on for about 5 minutes)

The trail starts at Realization Point, and pretty soon you get to this view:

What’s cool about that is that way off in the distance you can see the Continental Divide. It’s those snow-capped mountains you see way, way back there.

A senior-picture-esque photo shoot ensued.

By the way, what you see there on Jonathan’s shoulder is Spots McGee, the Hobbes to Jonathan’s Calvin.

 

Those are the kinds of views you get all over the place on this trail.

By the time we got back to the car it was around 5 and starting to get dark, so we called it a day as far as hiking went.

If you ever find yourself in Boulder, I would definitely recommend visiting Flagstaff Mountain and finding one of the trails there. If you’re looking for a scenic, relatively easy hike, Tenderfoot Trail Loop is a great one.

We’ll hopefully get to try Fourth of July Trail again…but we’re for sure going to wait until summer. 🙂

Until next time,

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