Monday, 14 December 2009

First Try at Snowshoeing

For Christmas, KC and I decided to get snowshoes that would give us something to do on the off chance that we had a non-ski day or two. We picked them up last Friday and brought them out this weekend.

Sunday dawned bitterly cold (-29 at 10 AM) as expected, so we did not head up to Sunshine, instead hanging out doing chores and staying warm. By mid afternoon it had warmed up to almost -25, and we decided to test our new shoes out walking around our neighborhood. Given the temp, we opted not to take a camera, so sorry, no photos. Here's the route we followed:

These things we learned:
1) Snowshoeing enables hiking when otherwise the snow would be too deep. We walked a similar route last winter in big boots, and sank in deep in similar snow conditions. That time, snow got in our boots despite our best efforts, and it was limited fun. This time no snow in the boots.
2) It's a workout, more so than hiking. The combination of the slight extra weight, and the lifting and kicking of the snow make it harder than just walking. Crossing obstacals like fallen trees is tougher.
3) Even with snowshoes, you sink in powder. And the stuff we were walking in was just light as dust due to the cold. There were a few areas of wind crust, but we sank in those, too, as the crusts weren't that thick.
4) Snowshoeing isn't quiet. You actually make a heck of a racket tromping around, especially in the forest. Hence we saw LOTS of tracks of lynx, fox, coyote, bobcat, squirrels, mice, deer and elk, but no actual animals.
5) Snowshoeing is warm work. We dressed for -25 and were hot, usually with jackets open.

We saw virtually no birds except those at our complex, where due to a neighbour who LOVES to put out bird seet, suet feeders and peanut butter, we saw multiple woodpeckers, pine siskins, and 3 types of chickidees (black capped, mountain & boreal).

Contrast this with yesterday when we saw:
1) A big bull elk with a huge rack;
2) A mom and a baby moose
3) a HUGE herd of elk, and
4) a 6 or 8 point whitetailed buck

So we had a lot of fun despite the cold temps.

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