Monday, March 9, 2020

Finally Snowshoeing

Our very first snowshoe adventure was in Finland, back when we were posted to St Petersburg. It was amazing, magical, so very much fun. We were younger, fitter, and tired kids could be pulled on a sled thing that attached at Terry's waist. We decided we'd snowshoe at the cabin in the winter, so we went ahead and bought ourselves a bunch of snowshoes.

Fast forward to being back in the USA. We realize that winter visits to the cabin are a bad idea - arriving near midnight with kid who either did or did not fall asleep in the car and in any case need to get to bed RIGHT NOW but the cabin is below-freezing temps inside, other than in the furnace room, which is a "roasting" 50 - nothing good comes from this. So, no showshoeing that year.

Fast forward to Kazakhstan. We do go snowshoeing once. It was bitterly cold, below -20 without windchill and massive wind that nipped at any exposed flesh. We turned back very early.

Now we are in Canada where everything is glorious. In our introductory hikes we tried to instill in the kids the love of outdoors and hiking so we focused on really cool things like ice falls. Having hit every one in a two hour radius of Calgary (other than Fish Creek, which is within Calgary city limits), we decided it was time to break out the 'shoes.

Our plan was to hit a highly recommended, easy trail that was almost two hours away. Around the hour mark of our drive was a visitors' center we knew would have indoor bathrooms - winter is no good time for the porta-potty type toilets at most trailheads, which have doors that let a lot of outdoor air circulate.  During the stop we had a quick conversation and re-orientation and decided to do the easy trail that left from the other end of the parking lot.  That was a very good decision, as it was a richly fact-finding experience for us. Fact #1: Snowshoes really are a double workout compared to hiking (as in, you get exhausted at what would have been the halfway mark on a hike). Fact #2: Although the children are still technically under the weight limit for their snowshoes, the 'shoes are legitimately too small. They post-holed a number of times when playing around in the deep snow to the side of the trail. We need new-to-them 'shoes before our next trip out. Fact #3: 10 year olds can not be trusted to account for all of their gear before departure and must be reminded.  "I thought I had it so I didn't look", and "I told you so you should have reminded me" are apparently valid excuses. Fact #4: The deep snow is way more fun than the trail.

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