Sunday, January 3, 2010

On A Clear Day.....

you can see the Knik Glacier!

My friend Wild Horse Annie got me interested in snowshoeing last winter. We snowshoed alot in the river bottoms where our horse trails are. She also snowshoed on her mountain behind her dad's cabin. Last year I had conflicts each time she asked me to snowshoe on the mountain. This year she called me on Friday and asked if I wanted to go with her on Saturday. I said Sure!

This is what she posted on her SparkPeople page:

"Today, January 2, the first Saturday in January just like 2009 on the first Saturday of January I am going as high as I can on "my" mountain behind my house. Last year I went by myself and it was -30F that day. This year I am trying to set a trend and an annual event and have at least 4 brave souls who are going with me. We are leaving at first light (about 11:30 this time of year!) The temperature warmed up to 15F but we have about a 15 mph wind to deal with! Not sure how far we will get (certainly not to the top), but its more about getting out and setting a monumentous statement about our commitment to taking care of ourselves throughout the year, camaderie and celebration of our environment and enjoying this great State of Alaska even in its harshest weather."

We had a blast! We left the cabin about 11:20 am, just as the sun was peeking out from the mountains to the east. The temperature was about 10*F and there was no wind. The sky was blue blue blue. I had my GPS and kept track of the time. mileage and elevation.

The first bit was pretty easy for me. I was wearing a good pair of Sojurner snowshoes with cleats and the snow was about 5' deep. Annie was our leader since she knew the way. After we crossed the creek we started to climb. Annie and Kathleen had mountain climbing snowshoes with serrated edges that helped them climb easier in the powdery snow. Margaret and I slipped several times. I had no traction with the smooth aluminum frame of my snowshoes. Next time I will wear my Sherpas with lacing around the frames which should help with the traction. I was dressed correctly (remember what I said about the Michilin Man?) and didn't get cold at all.

Annie took the picture above at my halfway point. That's me in the middle, Kathleen on my right and Margaret on the left. We ate a snack, fed the dogs, drank some water and rearranged our packs. Then we started down. As usual, I ride drag. So everyone else was down the hill and around the shoulder of the ridge when my feet slipped out from under me and I "sledded" through the alders. By the time I got stopped I was in a place where it was easier to go down than up. Then my cell phone rang. It was Annie, Margaret and Kathleen on the next ridge over! I told them I was headed down and would meet them at the cabin. So I hiked down down down to a snowmachine track and headed back to the cabin. The other girls showed up about 30 minutes later.

The final results were that I hiked 2.25 miles in 4 hours with almost equal moving and stopping times and we climbed just over 900 feet in elevation.

If you want to read Annie's version and see where they went after I headed back:


  1. What a great time! That could have been scary without the cell phone and them not knowing what happened...but I'm sure they'd have back tracked and found your obvious decent! Absolutely gorgeous up there!

    Love your bunny boots too. Yes, I appreciate the explanation and pic too.

    The Wordless Wednesday photo is post card perfect...beautiful!

  2. WOW! I can't even imagine trekking out in such cold weather. I was freezing to death today and it was 40 degrees! Glad you made it down safely.

  3. Beautiful picture and view! What ambition! Especially in the cold!! Brrrr!

  4. I wanna go! Ok, I've only "snowshoed" once, around my house twice in Anchorage for about 20 minutes in 2' of snow. And my snowshoes were like yours, all aluminum frame, few teeth. I don't think I could handle even 2 hours of snowshoeing right now, and certainly would look like a clown on 5' of snow!

    I sold my snowshoes after moving to Oregon. I miss them. A new pair was on my wishlist this Christmas. But, it doesn't look like we'll really have snow this year. 4" on the 29th that melted by the 30th doesn't count.

    Have you tried skijoring? I didn't learn about that either until I moved south. Freya would have loved it!