Finally, snow on the ground. I rocketed through my afternoon work in order to salvage enough light so that I could get into the woods. We had four to six inches of snow fall yesterday, then it rained lightly, but still cold , then freezing rain, so there is a little crust on top of some wet heavy snow that actually requires snowshoes to walk through today.
I am totally happy with my MSR Lightning Axis shoes. They speed at which I was able to get into the bindings continues to amaze me. After dialing in some initial time-consuming set ups, they adhere like glue to my boots with just a jam of my toe, and a quick two ingeniously simple strap tugs and I am walking.
I think someone else has been walking my personal trail, but maybe it was me, who put up some new neon tape at periodic intervals up to the top of the ridge and overland to the summit of Moody.
I forgot how strenuous it is to walk in snowshoes. First, you have to take a wider gait, because if you don’t you end up stepping on the edge of a shoe and fall down. There is not enough snow yet to really blanket the wood floor deeply. Today there is just enough to smooth over this highly uneven terrain, but not enough to prevent my ankles from playing flop games, and from sliding sidewise on the ice under the snow. This trail doesn’t run flat across the uphill- it’s not dug in, so you have to struggle to keep yourself from siding sideways. I have no poles with me, decided there might be enough bushwhacking and trail finding that they’d be a hindrance.
I drank in the cool air,/ The sky was blue and clear to the north, where this wicked wind is coming on strong out of Canada. The light from the sunset glancing off the icy snow cover was rich.
There was some seriously thick ice covering exposed rocks.
I dressed lightly for this hike, but was still sweating. There is an entry on my hiking pal Guthook’s blog that lays out clothing recommendation for winter layering. Go there. One point that Guthook makes that I liked was to choose a slippery, smooth outer shell over a furry one like a pile jacket. Why? Because the pile jacket allows snow to adhere and clump up on it.