Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jan 31 2009 Snowshoe

The first thing we notice as we pull into the parking lot at Miller Sate Park is all the ice damage on all the trees. A majority of the tree tops are broken. We gather our stuff from the car and snap on our snowshoes. Its great day without a cloud in sight and the sun is reflecting blindingly off the snow. Josh is bit surprised at the temperature and wind, it’s a bit colder then he thought it would be. We start out toward the kiosk and trail heads. Josh asks which trail and I say either the road or Marion Davis trail(1.6miles). He mentions the Wapack trail and I say I’m not in the mood to try to climb up and over rocks with snow shoes.

In reality I did want to try but I’m still a bit gun shy about hurting my leg again. And the fact that I’m not in the best shape would make that trail quiet the challenge. I just want to be able to hike today and work my legs a bit. I don’t want to push to extreme limits, just test my leg out and build up some strength by snowshoeing up this small mountain. I have a long ways to go if I’m going run races safely this year and I want to use this hike as a way to help build up some base strength. I know Josh will be a little bored since it won’t be much of a challenge for him and he will be waiting for me and I hope he doesn’t mind and doesn’t go nuts.

As we start out I almost immediately notice my boots are rubbing up and down on my heels. I have always have had problems finding foot-wear to wear snowshoeing that doesn’t give me blisters on my heels. I stop to retie my boots tighter in hopes that will stop the problem as Josh waits antsyly next to me. We head out again and my boots feel much better. Josh jokes as we cross a half frozen stream that I will trip and fall in. No such luck as we easily cross it. I do I have fear of crossing ice, and frozen streams and swampy areas in the winter because I don’t know exactly what is under me. I’m afraid of falling threw into the unknown. At least I’m braver on snowshoes because of the increased surface area they give.

We start the steady gentle climb up the mountain. Marion trail is a rolling up hill climb. With occasional down hill sections and a few short steep climbs but it is all doable on snowshoes. As we hike we admire the snow and sunshine on this brisk day. We continually look around at all the broken trees from the ice storm. Amazed at how some of them have been, twisted, snapped and splintered by the power of nature.

As we get closer to the top, climbing up the steep sections is slower for me as my calves began to tire and burn more. The snow is broken up into loose chunks in the steep sections making it a bit slippery. At each step I make sure the cleats on my snowshoes are dug in so I don’t slid backwards. But I have no pain were my injury was so I’m happy to keep going.

I stop to rest every once in awhile and to breathe in the fresh cold air and take in natures winter beauty all around me. As we get near the top a thin coating of ice is on the trees. The top branches shimmer and sparkle in the sun against the bright blue sky.

At the top finally we enjoy the views and walking around on the icy crust of the snow. There is a thick icy snow coating on the trees that creates an amazing icy winter wonderland. We don’t stick around to long and started down the road(1.4 to bottom) to get out of the brisk winds at the top. A ways down the road we stop so Josh can take a picture of me on a bump out on the side of road with a beautiful view in the back ground. I walk across the top of the ice crusted snow with my snowshoes and stand on the bump for a picture. Then a second later my left foot broke through the crust and I sink in up to my thigh. After struggling a bit and getting out of the hole we find out the bump is a snow covered tree/shrub.

We continued down to the bottom. It is a colder now that we are not working as hard as we were getting up the mountain. At the bottom we cut off the last tiny bit of road to detour onto a short section of the Wapack trail to the start of the trail heads and kiosk to complete our 3 mile hike.

Back at the cars we load up and jump in happy to be out of the wind. But it is delayed a bit as Josh’s car gets stuck in the snow. A truck parked a little close to us and he can’t back straight out. But with Josh’s determination and skills he soon has the car unstuck and as a bonus nicely warmed up and we head home.

I had a great time. It was great weather for a winter hike. Sun was out, the winds were tolerable. Plenty of natures winter beauty. Company of great encouraging boyfriend and my leg didn’t bother me. It was a good day!