Posted by: tlnemethy | February 17, 2013

Exercise Shmexercise

A straight line does not properly depict the territory I crossed today, nor does it make me feel quite so accomplished as when you factor in the ups and downs or staggered paths of wilderness snowshoeing. I am tired, and my face feels like it’s sunburnt from the constant assault of wind burn, but I feel like a badass. The map says we snowshoed about four miles, but that does not account for the vertical distance we covered ascending and descending to follow the natural curve of the mountain. Nor does it include the walk home without snowshoes.

I don’t get outside as often as I should. In fact, I very rarely get outside unless I have an outdoors buddy; someone who makes me participate in activities  that I want to do, but won’t when alone. The outdoors are much more interesting when shared, don’t you think? Anyways, it was my last day of the weekend, because as a grownup I work for a company that does not receive Presidents Day as a vacation day. That’s fine, more work for me. I, surprisingly enough, enjoy my job chatting with people all day. It also happened to be a day that a sudden snow storm hit my hometown, making the road conditions ridiculously dangerous. Within the first few minutes of driving we had already seen seven cars off the highway in ditches and snowbanks. One poor soul had even flipped his car completely over in the ditch near the breakdown lane. I was happy not to be driving.

The bitter chill of 15 degree weather is not all that bad to be out in as long as you make an effort to keep your blood moving and not sit for too long in a snow bank. But when you add in gale force winds that smack you in the face with icy pellets and makes the treetops threaten your safety, you’ve got a potentially dangerous weather situation. Potentially dangerous weather situations make for the best hiking/snowshoeing outings.

Now, due to some miscalculations with the distances between landmarks, ahem Papa Bear, we ended up wandering around for a while not necessarily lost, but definitely not headed to the planned destination. That’s fine. I’m pretty fluid… and maybe just a teensy bit hopeless with wilderness navigation. If I got lost I would’ve just turned around followed my own tracks home, but looking for a landmark I probably wouldn’t have recognized in the summer let alone the winter is difficult.

At one point, we are walking on the top of a river bed and my father says, “I wouldn’t suggest doing th0217131646is if you don’t know where you are,” and mentions something or another about being careful. Almost simultaneously, we both plunge a leg through the ice shelf and into the river. It was shallow, and I had the forethought to wear plastic bags inside my boots, so I didn’t get to feel the icy fingers of cold water seep into my socks. Papa Bear has a nicer pair of boots, so no plastic baggies for him. We moved on, my right snowshoe crusting over in a layer of ice and snow almost instantly in the frigid air.

It was pretty chilly. I measured the time by the layer of ice freezing inside my water bottle. The first drink was cold enough to make my lips catch on the rim and signal the image of a tongue on a metal flagpole. The second, I drank through a narrowed opening in the neck and the cap twisted off with the sound of grating sand. The third resulted in an opening 50% narrower than it should have been and there were miniature icebergs clogging the gap.

We did roughly eight miles trudging through heavy snow and crawling up steep inclines using rooted saplings. I was chilled when I returned to the cabin and there’s nothing better than a nice toasty wood stove to thaw you out painfully, but quickly.


  1. eep, sounds like today was an adventure my friend. i did NOT venture outside at all…. i may or may not still be in my pajamas…

  2. It was a very enjoyable day Baby Bear, glad you talked me in to taking the adventure. And I don’t feel to bad today, better shape than I thought!

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