Thursday, January 29, 2015

Body & Soul: Snow Shoeing

One of my favorite winter activities is snow shoeing with my children. To my good fortune they enjoy it 'almost' as much as I. I am like a kid at Christmas time when I ask if they want to go and they actually say "Yes!" There is nothing better than the sound of snow crunching beneath your snow shoes as you make you way through a spectacular winter wonderland. The snow changes the landscape a great deal in the winter. That once green forest is now frozen over, but still alive only in the shape of something you see created by snow and ice. The ideal conditions would consist of blue skies, sun beating down on an endless  blanket of white snow as you transverse along the snow packed trail. Our dog is usually on my back taking in the whole experience from the comfort of a cozy back pack. I like to bring up the rear so I can keep an eye on everyone, but really nothing gives me greater satisfaction to look up ahead and see all of us together having a great time laughing and talking about everything. We cover a great many topics when we are out trekking.

Most recently my son and I chose a different area to try out. We headed up to Summit Park for a day of fun in the sun. My girls are a little more reserved when it comes to hiking and snow shoeing so when it is just my son and I we try to kick some ass and conquer the world via snow shoe style. We had no idea it would be the other way around this day. It had snowed a few days prior to us heading out and you would have thought others had been out tromping through the snow, but not so. We seemed to be the first to blaze the trail for others.

Our descend into a ravine seemed harmless at first until the thrill of trudging through eight to ten inches of powder lost its luster. We slide down the hill not thinking it was quite so steep. Once at the bottom it became clear we were in a stream and with each step we sunk deeper due to the water that was below the snow. My snow shoes would often get stuck and pulling them out was a major feat. Still I was out doing what I loved almost as much as biking.

We found the ascend to be just as challenging because our snow shoes would sink so far down that when you attempted to step forward (uphill) you would trip on your other snow shoe. I fell so many times my son could not stop laughing at me. If we had thought to bring hiking poles I would have beat him to a pulp with it. When we made it to the top of the ravine we both sunk to the ground relishing in the sight of flat ground. I let our little dog out of the back pack so he could run around and play for a few minutes. This turned out to be a bad idea as he was sweating inside his cocoon. The minute he stepped into the snow he sunk! I forgot the powder. The snow instantly stuck to his wet body and he started to shiver. Immediately I felt awful and scooped him up in my arms. We brushed him off, wrapped him up and returned him to the warmth of his back pack.
For the next two hours we trudged through powder, slowly making our way back to civilization. By the time we reached our car every water bottle was dry and our faces sun burnt. We sat on the back-end of the car and let our back packs fall into the trunk (minus the dog). I looked over at my son as he let out an exasperated breath. When he glanced up I met him with a huge grin and asked "Tomorrow?"