Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Snowy ageing madness.

For my 27th birthday, to prove I'm not old as hell, I decided I wanted to go cross country skiing.  Yes!  That seems great.  Except I had no idea whether or not it would be difficult, how much skill would be involved, if an instructor was required, etc., so we decided to grab snowshoes instead.  Snowshoeing happens to be the easiest winter sport in terms of "getting into it".  It is, however, not easy.  Imagine plowing through 4 1/2 miles of snowy trail your first time on wacky aluminum platforms.

Why snowshoeing, when downhill skiing is so much more exciting?  Nothing puts me in a good mood like boring, repetitive, physically difficult tasks.  Take my job, for example.  Scanning hundreds of items and sorting them into heavy bags that need to be moved.  Heaven.  Running.  Swimming. Hiking. Extremely satisfying.  I wish I could turn myself into a robot.

In addition, things like downhill skiing and snowboarding usually require passes to a ski-type resort, while this and xc skiing usually can be done just about any old place where snow exists.  In our case we chose to snowshoe around semi-scenic Trillium Lake.  That is to say, its more scenic in the summer.

Doesn't sound appealing?  Live vicariously through these pictures then.

Admittedly, this is the very first time since we've moved to Oregon that I've had anything to do with "The Mountain" (which most of you may know is Mt. Hood and associated mountainous snow zone.)  This has a lot to do with vehicular access, and since we recently got this new Subaru, we thought we could handle it!  I thought I was well-acquainted with snow since I grew up in Western PA, where winter snowfalls can be plentiful.  I just had no idea.

Snow Plows?  F that, Government Camp has BULLDOZERS.  Incidentally, in the middle of the night, we awoke to the sound of Armageddon, which was just all the snow from the entire hotel sliding off the roof into the parking lot.  I was like uh, is Mt. Hood suddenly erupting? I was sure that my time had come.

On the road, we were about an hour from needing tire chains, which would have happened if we didn't haul ass off the mountain at 3:30, right before sunset.

My husband and I are big fans of getting gear as cheaply as you can.  Next Adventure is a place here in Portland which allows you to trade in your used gear and clothing, and additionally buy second-hand gear for a fraction of the price of new things.  Here is my goofy purple vintage Columbia adult snowsuit  which functioned at 100% and didn't cost more than 20 dollars.

Right at the beginning.  An easy downhill start, a bitch at the end of the 3.5 hours because it feels like it's going straight up.


About halfway through.  It's not as cold as it looks, only about 28 degrees.  When you've waited for Pat Transit's 54C in the middle of winter on a windy hill, you can pretty much camp at the North Pole and be fine.

Trillium Lake.  I'm told in the summer, it looks like this:

What to drink when you're done?  

"Love" isn't my favorite flavor, but I gambled and lost.

Products I recommend?

Definitely any Keen brand hiking boot you can get your hands on.
Injinji individual-toed socks, prevents toe chafe-age.
Neff facemasks and additionally their "daily" hats.

Lessons Learned?
-Camelbacks and other water bladders operate on the principle that if you're thirsty enough, you'll drink water that tastes like a shower curtain and like it.
-The hiking boots priced over a hundred dollars are worth it if you have knee problems.
-4 1/2 miles is a lot of snowshoeing for a beginner.

I don't want to know how this is going to feel tomorrow.  Let's not talk about it.