The blue diamonds the US National Forest Services places as trail markers are a wonderful thing. They make skiing and snowshoeing up on the high passes more accessible to lots of folks who would otherwise not know this winter wonderland exists.
Do not solely rely on these blue diamonds to navigate your way over these trails. Always carry a compass, map, or GPS device when you’re in the backcountry. Wild winter weather can close in on you in a heartbeat reducing visibility to zero. There is no way you can see from one blue diamond to the next. Up will look like down and east will look just like west. It’s crazy but true…
On Rabbit Ears Pass we have several cross country ski trails that are marked with blue diamonds. The West Summit, Bruce’s Trail, Fox Curve, Walton Peak, and Hogan Park Trail are all set with blue diamonds nailed to the trunks of spruce or set on stakes placed out in the middle of big meadows.
Even with a map, compass, or GPS system it is always a comfort to see the blue diamond confirming you’re on the right path. With a blue diamond in sight your pace quickens. When a skier or snowshoer is unsure of the direction and no blue diamond is in sight the pace slows as eyes search for a hint of blue amongst a wintery white.
To be sure there are millions of snow covered acres to go explore and make navigational mistakes on your way to discovery or disappointment. There is joy in skiing new terrain and discovering for yourself a new wintery stash. But for those days when a quick reliable tour is just what is needed – nothing will be better than a trail marked with blue diamonds. Thanks USFS. We appreciate the service and the trails!