Black Forest

A deer uses the pedestrian crosswork where a trail in Black Forest Regional Park crosses Milam Rd. in Black Forest. Sunday, October 10, 2010. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)

Many of us living in northern El Paso County were happily trapped at home for a couple of days when “snowmaggedon” hit March 13.

I say “happily” because it forced most of us to slow down, play board games while the power was out and take stock of how prepared (or unprepared) we are in the face of adversity.

It also brought out dusty snowshoes that hadn’t been worn for years.

With every street within a few miles impassable, all became “trails.” Once the wind abated, the heavy, dense snow became the perfect platform for trudging effortlessly throughout the neighborhood.

We encountered neighbors doing the same. Stir-crazy, parents had bundled up children surrounded by dogs bounding through the snow. There was no sound or sight of cars. It was a memorable moment.

I’m not discounting the tremendous cost to motorists, homeowners or retailers that the storm levied in the form of lost customers, tree damage or marooned vehicles. Nor am I eager to go through it again anytime soon. The sound of the snowplow 42 hours after the storm hit was music to everyone’s ears. But isn’t it the Colorado way to turn adversity into opportunity? Think of the ice-climbers tackling a winter challenge, kayakers navigating raging whitewater or anyone who has climbed a mountain.

A prime example where you can witness man and nature overcoming adversity is Black Forest Regional Park. Ravaged by the 2013 Black Forest fire, most of the trails have been repaired with a few new ones planned between now and the end of the year.

I spent a recent Sunday afternoon in the park and was surprised at how quiet it was. Only a few families were hiking or on mountain bikes. A few more were enjoying time on the playground. Otherwise it was desolate on a lovely, dry day. While the charred spires that were once living trees have changed the park for the foreseeable future, there is still a beauty there to be experienced.

For those of you weary of weekend crowds at some of the more popular parks and open spaces, check out Black Forest Regional Park for the solitude, fine trails and excellent views of Pikes Peak. You’ll find it by taking Shoup Road east from Colorado 83.

April is often one of our snowiest months. Snowshoeing in Black Forest Park might just allay that “cabin fever” when the next storm hits.

Susan Davies is executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition.

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