Several of my friends talked about how beautiful the scenery was during the January 2017 hike, but they all said it was terribly cold. With that in mind, I wore:
· Two pairs of socks (sock liners and wool socks)
· Snow boots
· Thermal underwear
· Lined, waterproof pants
· A sweatshirt
· A heavy waterproof coat with a hood
· Mittens that I used to wear when I skied
· A wool hat
· My backpack, carrying a knit scarf, sandwich, water, cell phone, etc.
After getting our snowshoes and poles, we splashed through rain and snow melt to the snowshoeing area. Rain pelted our heads. I’m guessing the temperature was in the upper 30s (F).
Once we'd fastened all the straps on the snowshoes and got on the trails, there was plenty of snow on the ground from the day before. However, the going was difficult. The existing snow was heavy and wet – not at all like the powder I’d experienced on Colorado ski trips – and the rain continued. There were nine participants from the senior center (including the senior center director), and two rangers accompanied us – one in the lead and one in the rear.
|Snow up to our knees.
It took a while to become accustomed to the snowshoes and to learn how to walk in them, plus there were specific techniques for walking uphill and downhill. It didn’t take long to master those. Our leader forged a path through untouched snow, and we followed like ducklings in her footsteps. I was about fifth in line so the snow had been packed down pretty well by the time I walked in it. The “trench” we walked through was probably knee deep.
This restroom isn't the most scenic shot, but this will give you an idea of how much snow we encountered.
It wasn’t long before I worked up a sweat and unzipped my jacket. During the whole excursion, four different people fell down—and I was one of them. Of course it didn’t hurt at all, but it sure was hard to get up while wearing those awkward snowshoes in wet, slippery snow. The people who had gone on this trip last year said walking was much easier then, when the temperature was colder and the snow wasn’t as mushy and wet.
|Our guide, talking about Native Americans' many uses
of cedar trees like this one.
Another problem with the rain was that it melted snow that had accumulated high in the trees. In several places, snow bombs fell on us. The rain turned them into a combination of snow and ice! Some of these were huge. The guide saw one that she said was as big as a Volkswagen. Because of the danger of someone actually getting injured from a giant mound of icy snow falling from high above, the rangers cut our walk short (only a few hours), which was fine with everyone.
|Accumulation of snow high in the giant trees.
In spite of all that, I enjoyed the adventure. The scenery was beautiful and it was fun to try something new and actually be able to do it. My muscles were sore that evening and the next day, but I’ll sign up for snowshoeing again. Maybe next time conditions will be better.
By the way, I switched the settings on my camera to "snow" mode. However, I'm disappointed in the way the photos turned out. None of the detail or contrast that I hoped to capture is shown in my pictures, and I wasn't able to tweak them using Photoshop.
Info about snowshoeing, equipment, and more:
REI Beginner's Snowshoeing Guide
REI Beginner's Snowshoeing Guide
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