I once held the opinion that snow shoeing seemed dull and plodding. I was foolishly comparing it to my other winter sport of choice: downhill skiing. Now I know better
True, there is the absence of the adrenaline rush, unless you count, of course, the hair curling screams of local abominable snow beasts lurking behind the trees. But if you’re lucky enough to escape their clutches, there will still be no tears streaming down your cheeks from the high speed happiness of downhill foot-plank plummeting. But you just may enjoy it, as I have learned to.
Hiking in the snow
You see, it’s all about perspective. And as I am now an avid and Advil-ed hiker ( explanation here: The Fall of SuuperG), I think of snow-shoeing as merely an extension of the hiking season – PLUS some! There is something exhilarating and breathtaking – literally and figuratively – about donning modern day foot gear that can float you on the tops of snow banks.
Blaze your own trail…
Where without these metal-toothed, weight-spreading marvels of meandering, one would soon peter out by post-holing in soggy pants through the snowy woods. No matter how beautiful the pristine white surroundings, you wouldn’t and couldn’t go very far (unless of course you are members of a particular Chilean soccer team :} ). And with snow shoes, you find yourself in the “exclusive zone”, where the only other tracks are those of scurrying and scampering critters and birds, leaving trails so numerous you’d think their numbers double in the cold months. The fluffy flakes give away their frenetic foraging activities. One can almost imagine them indulging in a bit of glee in the sensation of floating over terra softa.
So, how to go about snow shoeing in these here parts? Well, this is a seasonal pursuit, and is also sort of a secret local thing. As in, I have snow shoes and friends with snow shoes and I can commandeer them, etc and take someone snow-shoeing – conditions allowing - and show them pure crystal white forest magic! If I’m REALLY lucky, I can snowshoe into town before they plow my road and get to Café Aroma, which seems to stay open and welcoming with a toasty fire through the most dumpingest snow storms!
But if you travel to Idyllwild unprepared, I have some great news: Our local outdoor gear outfitters http://nomadventures.com/ will begin renting snow shoes this season! Or, if you plan ahead, the big guys like REI and Adventure 16 rent shoes, too. I’d love to hear of any other great spots you may have discovered in Southern California – or even worldwide. Do share!
All photos by G. Stark unless I’m in them!
You might also enjoy:
More Idyllwild: Festive Festivals of Idyllwild
More Snow Fun: A Skiing Philosophy: Or, Life in Contrasts