Well, as our tagline: “Cycling, and more, in the Heart of the Sierra” implies, we don’t just cycle here at “CAC.” There’s so much more to do in the California Alps it would be criminal to focus strictly on cycling.
So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share this little missive about an outing I had outside of Reno, in the Mt. Rose Wilderness Area, just last Saturday.
My friends Chris and Shyanne Schull, along with another recruit, Sam (the man, of course) and I took off from the parking lot at the Mt. Rose Summit/Tahoe Rim Trailhead about 10:30 a.m. I now know this was a bit late for the distance we had planned to cover as our leader (Chris) gave us approximately 1.5 minutes to wolf down our lunch before we had to head back.
Okay, I digress…
So, off we go with all of our gear and puppies in tow, and head up the trail a bit to put on our snowshoes. That in itself was a bit dicey for this first-timer, let me tell ya! All those straps and shit…While trying to keep my balance. In snowy ice. Or is that icey snow?
Alrighty, then…Shoes on. Check. Pack hoisted. Check. Poles in hand. Check. Oh, wait, gloves. Okay, gloves. Check. And now I have to pee. Pack off. Check. Up the hill to the trees while my companions wait patiently. Check. Download. Check. Gloves and jacket. Check. Pack back on. Check. Now, off we go. Finally!
As a lifelong mountain lover, but a city livver (sorry, “liver” just didn’t feel right) I have had many of those “OMFG this is so beautiful moments” but had never experienced ‘shoein’, or skiing or anything that would take me miles into the wilderness on my own two feet. I was really looking forward to this. I was in great shape and had done a lot of hiking and backpacking so I was prepared for what I knew was going to be a hard day “out of the saddle.” Wrong! Not prepared. Not by a long shot. Showshoeing is hard I learned. Some of that was the trail we chose (I whined to Chris a lot. I mean a lot. Sorry, Chris), some of it was technique (or lack thereof) and some of it was just being a greenhorn. In any case, once I got out of my own way (and the trail got easier) I got into the Zen of it all: the rhythm of my breathing, the crunch of the snow, the outrageous blue sky and the crystalline snow (reminded me of the mirrors of my youth if you get my drift). Ooh, good pun!
Alright, I’ll put that flashback away and get on with the story. Bullet points:
- Hard work side-mountaining and cutting trail in showshoes…
- Harder still when cross-country skiers are swooshing by you at an irritatingly fast clip,
- and harder still when it goes on for several hours longer than you think.
- Crap, was that another whine?
What I learned:
- Good, waterproof, boots are key.
- Snowshoes that are better at shedding snow are better because they don’t form ice-balls under the shoe. When that happens, it makes it really hard to walk.
- Snowshoeing takes a lot longer than you think.
- You sweat a lot so having good, lightweight, breathable gear makes life a whole lot better when “doin the ‘shoe.”
- It’s frickin’ awesome being out (like really far out, man) there, in snow country. It looks so much different.
- You’re right, compared to someone like let’s say a snow surveyor, I wasn’t even out there. Still..frickin’ awesome!
- Doing something other than cycling, when it’s too cold and icy to be outside so I’d be on the trainer, anyway. Oh, boy!
- Did I tell you that it was frickin’ awesome?
Oh, if you want more data that matta, click here and check out my strava activity post.