Moonlight snowshoe planned for Valentine's Day

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— Looking for something special to do this Valentine’s Day?

What could be more romantic than some roses and a walk in the moonlight? Although getting the roses is up to you, Yampatika is providing the perfect opportunity to get out under the full moon with that special someone, or even meet someone new.

On Friday, Yampatika is inviting locals and tourists ages 12 and older to participate in the group's second-to-last moonlight snowshoe tour of the year.

Naturalist Karen Vail will lead the tour on Emerald Mountain’s snowshoe trails. Jacob McCoola is the “on-call” naturalist who will stand in as the naturalist for a second tour if registration numbers exceed 12. The tour has averaged 18 participants in the past, and a second group is required on a regular basis.

Yampatika has been leading full moon snowshoe tours for several years, and the event has been a consistent favorite of participants of all ages.

Upon finishing the tour, even biologists and geologists have been surprised at how much they have learned from their tour guide. Because the tours are scheduled on full moons, naturalists use little to no artificial light, allowing for a unique experience for all involved.

The moonlight outing starts at Blackmer Trailhead in Fairview and will follow a moderately strenuous route that will be determined the night of the event. Vail and McCoola will make periodic stops to point out various tracks, stunning town views and even nocturnal wildlife.

Although the main points of the tour are predetermined, routes and stops may vary based on the interests of the group. Participants also can expect to hear some of the exceptional history of the area and possibly about Steamboat Springs' Olympic heritage.

“The purpose of these tours is to expose people to the area and create a connection between people and their environment and surroundings,” Yampatika program coordinator Morgan Moss said.

Since it was established in 1992, Yampatika has been a small but mighty nonprofit organization committed to inspiring environmental stewardship through education.

Regardless of rain, snow or any combination of the two, Yampatika has yet to cancel an event, and with warm temperatures predicted for Friday evening, Moss has no doubt that the moonlit tour will run as planned, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The cost is $20 and includes snowshoes. The tour is limited to 24 spots, so preregistration is required.

To register, call Yampatika at 970-879-9151 or email info@yampatika.org. For more information about other activities and tours, visit www.yampatika.org.

Marley Loomis, a senior at Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a spring intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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