Outdoor enthusiasts ready to ditch depressing winter, get out and play

Mandy Harter stretches before a late-winter run. Harter is happy that the mud on her shoes and snow in the valley are disappearing.



Mandy Harter usually has at least one bike, her running shoes and workout clothes with her wherever she goes.

Until this past week, though, the 29-year-old real estate broker associate hasn’t had much of an opportunity to get out and play this winter.

“This winter is definitely depressing,” she said. “You find other things to keep going. I’d get on the treadmill a couple days, but that’s a last resort. I took a lot of spin classes.”

Harter got so tired of the cold and snow, she went to St. George, Utah, a few weeks ago to mountain bike and run. It was the closest place she could find to get away from the winter weather.

She’s not the only one looking forward to more warm weather to enjoy the Western Slope playground.

Patrick Green moved away from Leadville 14 years ago to do other activities other than skiing.

“The nice part about living in Grand Junction is usually you can do the winter sports, but when you come back here you can play golf or go ride your bike or even go for a hike,” Green said. “It’s been bad enough this year. Hiking in Moab hasn’t been very good. ... I’m ready.

“That’s the neat part about living in Grand Junction. There’s activities in four directions. That’s one of the reasons we moved to Grand Junction. There’s quite a variety.”

The 60-year-old land surveyor will usually do something active each day after work once the days are long enough.

Karen Madsen, under 60 years old, loves to ride her road bike at least three to four days a week in the summer, but hasn’t since November.

“I’m very excited to get outside and smell the fresh air,” Madsen said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

The financial advisor dealt with winter by spending more time in the gym, much like Green and Harter.

“I’m usually outside more than I’m in here (at Crossroads Fitness Center),” Madsen said. “I felt lucky I have a place to go inside and sweat. A few times I’ve gone to Canyon View Park and walk there.”

Bruce Ricks likes to start building up hiking miles in preparation for his Grand Canyon hike in May. That requires 18- to 20-mile hikes on the weekend, he said.

It’s hard to do that,” Ricks said. “The only thing you can do is Little Park Road.”

Even that was tricky, because the ground was so soft once the sun came out.

“The last few weeks we’ve run into mud. I’ve had to go early.,” he said. “(Early last week) it was slick by 20 after 8 (in the morning).”

The over-50 dentist and Mesa Monument Striders founder likes to hike Colorado National Monument, but, because of the snow, ice and mud, has been reduced to walking the road.

“Two weekends ago, we still had 3 inches of snow,” he said. “Cold is not the issue. We layer up and down. If you hike fast enough, you get warm.”

Everyone’s eagerness to get outside is showing at area golf courses.

“We’ve been at about capacity through Tuesday so far,” Lincoln Park golf pro Eloy Vendegna said.

Lincoln Park opened last Sunday, the latest in at least 11 years, Vendegna said.

Adobe Creek Golf Course open for the season last Monday, the latest it opened for the season in 18 years, General Manager Paul Graebner said.

“A couple weeks before we opened people were calling,” Graebner said. “We’d get half a dozen calls a day asking if we were open yet.

“It was a long winter. We were closed a little less than three months this year. Usually it’s six weeks. This winter was almost double that. The good thing is the golf course is in great shape. People are liking the conditions. We had a lot of golfers (Wednesday).”

Tiara Rado hasn’t opened yet, partly because the back nine is under construction. The driving range is open.

Bookcliff Country Club and Chipeta Golf Course opened recently to some excited golfers.

“Our members were banging at the doors the last couple weeks,” Bookcliff pro Mike Mendelson said. “It’s the latest we’ve opened since I’ve been here (13 years).”

The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa opened Wednesday, its latest since the course’s grand opening in 2001.


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