WINTER DAYS IN THE MOUNTAIN PARKS
--from Municipal Facts, Vol. 11, No. 1,
January -February 1928
Alas for him who has not tasted the joy of winter days in the Rockies! To those who spend their vacations in Colorado perhaps summer may offer certain advantages, but to residents of Denver winter in the Mountain Parks is the superb season. With roads maintained from gate to gate as clear of snow and ice as a city street, Lookout, Evergreen, Genessee, Bergen Park and Idaho Springs are accessible every month in the year.
Far up to the very edge of the stronghold of winter you may travel, until you reach that place where the ice and snow and wind laugh your efforts to scorn and say "so far and no further". To one who loves to experience the sensations of the mountain winter, there is always a thrill in going on to the very Turning Back Point-- especially when there is a shovel in the car just in case you have failed to recognize the point.
And here are revealed to you the winter moods of mountains--the snow cyclones that cover you in a breath until you are barely distinguishable from a fir tree; the wind that once went sighing through the pines, now slapping your face, and if you are on foot, making you fight your way-- and often fight for breath. And the fragrance of snow covered pines-- and of wood burning in the open--perfumes whose essence can never be imitated! And what pictures! A world of snow and crystals, cascades of diamonds, long blue shadows on the snow--silvered pines-- powdered hills-- and mountains smoking snow! And when the wind goes down-- the stillness of the mountain winter days! Here is a wrapped silence-- an earth padded with a carpet so deep and soft-- that only the crunching of your feet in the snow-- the occasional breaking of a twig-- gives voice to the world around you.
To keep all this beauty within the reach of the citizens of Denver--is not an easy task. The mountain park crews, whose business it is to keep the roads in the lower mountains open throughout the winter, are composed of men who dig themselves in for the winter at strategic spots along the main highways. Whether you consider the kind of winter that these men spend utterly desolate, or romantically adventurous-- depends upon your own attitude toward the life of the open-- but there they are with plenty of bacon and beans and coffee-- here and there a radio outfit-- and if you think there are no dances or card parties in the mountain winters--you don't know how far people will travel for amusement when they want it badly enough.
After every snow flurry these crews get out the plows, which are especially designed to meet the needs of the mountain roads in the city mountain park shops. The Lookout Mountain Road and that stretch between the Bergen Park and Evergreen are two especially tricky highways-- often accumulating snow as rapidly as the men can clear it off! Imagine, for instance, the job of keeping Windy Point swept clean in a snow storm! There are days and places, too, when the freezing of an ear or a foot--is the work of a few seconds. Those days when the wind is blowing with tremendous force-- an ear may be gone before its owner is aware of winter's cold caress. And so the men often go out in the snow with masks-- knitted helmets-- with double mittens on their hands-- and snow shoes on their boots.
But the city crew gets results. There is not a day in the winter when you will not find the roads in the lower mountain parks in as good condition as the best roads in Denver. Indeed if you have not yet made these trips, you will be amazed; and you will no longer let the breziness of the day deter you from enjoyment of the mountain winter. The roads maintained throughout the winter are Mount Vernon, Lookout, Morrison, Bear Creek, Deer Creek, Turkey Creek, Bergen Park, and Idaho Springs.
Many people owning winter proof cabins-- mountain homes-- give weekend parties the year round, while every year finds more parties leaving for skiing, tobogganing and other winter sports, good restaurants are kept open throughout the winter--while a winter picnic on the right sort of day is more enjoyable than one in summer.