Here we are, nearly at Christmas and nearly 26 weeks into this pregnancy, and I still haven’t decided if I really feel safe cross-country skiing this winter.
What I do feel safe doing, though, is snowshoeing.
So far we haven’t had much of a winter to speak of, but there are some signs that maybe that’s changing. After going Christmas tree hunting in almost no snow on 12/1, we’ve had two opportunities (after figuring schedules and all that) to get out on our snowshoes.
The first was on 12/9. I was having a ridiculous weekend after a ridiculous week of work (isn’t the last week of classes always that way?) but managed to get enough work done that we could go out. One problem, though. Negative wind chills. Not wanting to miss what little snow we had, Adventure Guy and I bundled up and headed out. Trail Dog had to stay home, though, because we were afraid her paws would freeze.
To really get enough snow to make it worth it we needed to go out to the Snowies, so we had a nice little drive to admire how beautiful the snowy (ha) mountains looked in the distance. Adventure Guy always makes fun of me because basically every time we go out there, I sit there in the passenger seat trying to get The Perfect Picture of the landscape. This time he promised he wouldn’t make fun, since it was actually my first time heading into “real” snow-covered mountains. It did not disappoint.
Did I mention that it was cold? It’s been a long time since I was out, or attempted to exercise, in wind chills below zero. It just didn’t happen where we were last winter and only once or twice the year before.
The trail we chose, figuring it would have the best chance of good snow without being too high, starts at about 9500 feet and goes up. I’ve seen this trail described as having “rolling hills.” Sure – if rolling hill means something entirely different in Wyoming than it means, well, anywhere else in the world. It’s a tough trail. It’s even tougher on snowshoes! Not to mention the fact that this was actually only my second time ever on snowshoes, and the first time was in a perfectly flat park across the street from our old house. And that I had managed to fall in that perfectly flat park.
Anyway, there were only a few inches of snow but we made the best of it. And it really was beautiful. It’s amazing how blue the sky can be when it’s so, so cold.
The snow that was here on 12/9 basically melted but thankfully we got some more on Tuesday night and Wednesday of this week. Once again, however, it’s been cold. Yesterday I walked to work on about 6″ of fresh snow (and the snowshoes might have been handy…) and then back home at the end of the day. That walk home was into the wind and although it felt like my face was going to fall off, it wasn’t awful. The wind chill was -7 when I left my office.
Later that evening when we took Trail Dog out for her evening walk I didn’t check the weather, just wore the same thing I had worn for my walk home. And this time, I couldn’t feel my face before we even got off our block. But Trail Dog had new boots to try out and we needed her to have fun in them, so we trudged along. That was probably about a 20-30 min walk and when we got back home, I finally checked the weather.
The wind chill was -23. Yeah.
That wind chill was partly due to our impending blizzard warning. You know that thing about how you learn something new every day? The thing I learned yesterday is that it’s possible to have a blizzard without any snow actually falling from the sky. Apparently it counts if it’s just snow that’s already on the ground blowing around. So last night and into this morning, we had a blizzard warning. And it did, in fact, blizz. Or whatever. The interstate was closed. The state road to the trailhead was closed. We lounged around for the morning and let me tell you, I was bored. Eventually the roads opened at the temps & wind chills made it above zero, and we headed out snowshoeing. Thanks to that new snow we didn’t have to drive as far to enjoy it this time.
It was probably almost 3:45 by the time we hit the trails, which meant we didn’t have much daylight. But oh, was that freshly fallen (or blown) snow beautiful in the late evening light. We walked less than half as long as I would really have liked too, but setting sun is setting sun, and Trail Dog needs some time to get used to those boots. It was worth every cold minute we were out there, though.
I’m still figuring out exactly how to move most efficiently on these things, but mostly I love them. My calves and I will come to some sort of agreement about the steep sections and by then I think I’ll have it down.