I had read in the guide books that sometimes there is a little snow in Colorado in May but as we approached the Rocky mountains for the first time it appeared there was actually rather a lot.  We stopped at one of the many “Welcome centers” and a guy who if he wasn’t a national park employee would probably be an actor in B movie westerns told us that the lake near the top of the mountain “may have a little ice on it.”  We set off to the top of the mountain and the higher we drove the more the snow mounted until we finally got to Bear lake.  I don’t know why it’s called “Bear lake” since apparently there aren’t typically any bears in the vicinity and on this particular day the word “lake” could easily have been replaced with the words “massive heap of snow.”  We probably wouldn’t have even noticed the lake but for the fact that there was a “no fishing” sign by the side of it and we probably wouldn’t have noticed that sign if there hadn’t been a strange una bomber looking man sleeping with his feet hanging out of what appeared to be the “Scooby Doo” van in front of it. 

There was a path around the perimeter of the lake and although we couldn’t see it we were able to pretty much judge where it was.  My 5 year old daughter was ecstatic about seeing snow and revealed that recently her pre-K teacher had asked all of the kids in her class if any of them had ever seen snow.  My daughter hadn’t and apparently was in the minority since all her class mates are New Yorkers whose parents decided they couldn’t put up with loud mouthed cabbies berating them on their way to work any more and headed to Florida to help push up our house prices instead.   Anyway I guess that it upset her and she made some kind of speech that by the sounds of it was similar to Scarlett O’Hara’s “I’ll never go hungry again” thing except in my daughters case I guess it was more like “I’ll never say I’ve never seen snow again.”

My wife wasn’t too impressed with the snow because she thinks that the Earths temperature should never be less than 80 degrees and the sun should always be shining which I guess explains why she always goes on about wanting to buy a massive SUV.  As we were walking along I heard a scream from behind me and turned to see my wife grappling with a tree as she frantically pulled herself out of a snow hole.  One of her legs went off the path and sank down into about 3 feet of snow which is something that has happened to anyone who has ever been around snow.  My wife however is a Floridian and has watched too many shows with that English survival expert on the Discovery channel dodging death as he tries to avoid crevasses in the Arctic.  This wasn’t the arctic and I am pretty sure that the only thing at the bottom of this snow hole was some grass and a little mud but nevertheless she was “traumatised” by the experience.  She grabbed my daughter and yelled “get back it’s not safe”  I meanwhile was left to “risk my life” by reaching over and plucking her shoe out of the hole where she had allowed it to fall off.

Thereafter my daughter and I had a pretty decent snowball fight or at least as good a snowball fight as you can have with a little girl who gets about as much loose snow as you could fit inside an acorn cup and throws it at you from about 6 inches away.  I got my wife with a snowball right on the back of her neck which was pretty cool but that signalled the end of our day as it caused her more trauma apparently.  We set off down the mountain just as a thunder storm broke out.  Without meaning to sound too much like my wife I started thinking about that English guy on Discovery again when he talked about thunder causing avalanches but thankfully we all made it safely back to flat ground.  Given that it was actually pretty hot there we were all wearing shorts and T-shirts and with my sun burnt face anyone could have been forgiven for thinking we had just come back from the beach.  If only they knew the dangers we had faced ……..