Monday, December 28, 2009

slow shoeing

The snow? It's terrible. Let me backtrack. There is no such thing as terrible snow. Just like there is no terrible weather: just poor clothing choices. But I found this weekend that, good, bad, indifferent, the snow right now is a challenge.

We snowshoed up to about the 8000' elevation and it was vexing, sinking deep, nearly to the knees with each step. Jerry, who is kind of a ski snob, calls snowshoeing "slow shoeing" and it definitely was. It took us two hours and change to go two miles. Extreme snowshoeing, I call it. When it was my turn to break trail I strode grimly on, determined to stay ahead even of the dogs (It worked,they were no fools and stayed in our tracks).

It was beautiful though, in an eerie way. This area was mightily burned in the Canal Fire of 1989, and while fuzzy new lodgepoles are coating the slopes, old silver snags still stand as far as I can see. It was sunny and the ground gleamed with silver--surface hoar, I was told, an icy top layer. (There's probably more scientific ways to talk about this, but it was flaky and glistening and pretty. Sort of like mica. I expected it to make a dry rustling noise as I passed through it).

The best thing was that down in the valley town was encased in deep, soul-destroying fog, and here I was in glorious sunshine. I'm still sun-starved after living in Alaska. It was well worth the epic nature of the trip.

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