The season was winding down and winter was on its way. We met in Nederland and we couldn't stand outside because it was so windy. We stood in the gas station and watched the snow blow. Only three of us decided to brave the cold winds and we discussed our options. With wind like this it wouldn't be a very fun day, so we decided to check out Gross Reservoir first. Then we'd discuss the plan for the rest of the day.
We planned on getting as close to the reservoir as we could, and there were many places to do that. We wanted to start with the fun bit and leave the graded road for last, so we left Nederland and headed up to the parking area at the seasonal gate. There was no one there, but there were tracks in front of us.
The gate was open and there was a bit of snow on the trail. It was a heavy, cold snow so it became slick and icy as soon as tires hit it. The first bit of the trail was in shade and it was slick, and we slid around a little. There was a wide spot and Monica decided she'd had enough fun sliding around so she jumped into Walt's Jeep. She's not a fan of snowy trails. Just then, a big truck came from the other way so the timing was perfect.
We kept along the trail and that was the last really icy spot. We drove out to the water and passed many numbered camping spots. When we got to the end there was a huge parking lot and fencing everywhere. We walked around to check out some of the spots but only one near the parking area had a small view of the water. We started walking down the footpath but it was windy and cold so we didn't get far before we turned around.
We headed to the steep hill and got out to check it out. There is a big turnaround spot there. The hill was snowy and in the shade so we decided to skip it because we'd have to come back up it later. We'd just have to save it for another time.
We headed out and didn't see anyone else, picking up Monica's Jeep along the way. It was lunch time, so we headed back to highway 72 and had a great lunch at the Wondervu Cafe. After some discussion we decided to keep checking out the rest of the trail. Walt remembered a sign pointing to Gross Reservoir off of highway 72 so he took the rest of us out there to find it.
Finding it was easy, and we stayed on Gross Dam road until we came to the intersection with the kiosk and maps. The winds had died down a bit and the sun was out, so the weather was nice. We got out to check things out, and someone was working on a Saturday. He asked us if we needed any guidance or help, but we were just wandering around so we didn't. He was very friendly and helpful.
We headed off to see the other spurs that got close to the reservoir, and the views were much better on this side. We saw many other vehicles. Luckily, the road was rarely snowy or slippery. Most of it was dry. Still, it was too windy and cold to get out and enjoy the scenery for very long.
We worked our way out to the trailhead at the northeast end, and it was very scenic. The farther we got, the more cars we saw. When we hit pavement there were many other cars on the road.
We really enjoyed the trip down to Boulder. It really is the best view of the town. We didn't stop, though, and soon we were in town. We headed for home, and it was kind of a bummer that the season was over for most if not all of us. It was a great 2012!