Monday, January 21, 2008

Snowshoeing on Banner Ridge

Hubby and I drove up past Idaho City to Banner Ridge yesterday, to go snowshoeing. There's a network of Nordic Ski and snowshoe trails leading off the parking lot, at about 7,000 feet. Hubby wore his traditional-style wood and gut snowshoes with leather bindings, and I rented a modern pair from REI.

It had snowed the night before. Enough to put at least an inch on the ground at our house. Up in the mountains it looked more like 6 inches, and that was on top of four or five feet already there. So we had fresh powder to walk in, and the weather was good; cloudy, but not really cold. It looked as if it might snow again, but the sun peeked through occasionally, and there wasn't much wind.

We headed off on one of the trails that no one had been on yet that morning. No snowmobiles buzzing around, and the new snow made it very quiet. We could feel the altitude as we walked uphill, but we were both so glad to be up there, we didn't care. The new snow was smooth and clean, and all the trees were covered with big clumps of snow just waiting to fall on you if you brushed a branch. We reached a junction of three trails after .6 of a mile, at the top of a ridge overlooking the next valley. Even though you could tell some of the slopes had been burned over recently, the snow made it all look beautiful.

We stopped and ate our cheese, ciabatta and wine for lunch, sitting under a tree. Then we found another untrodden trail running along the ridge. It wasn't until then that we passed a group coming up the other way. By this time hubby's leather bindings were giving him trouble, so when we reached another trail junction, we headed for the parking lot. I think we were out for maybe two or three hours, but I didn't keep track.

We definitely want to get out for more snowshoeing again this season. The modern bindings gave me no trouble at all, which was a nice change from the previous times I'd worn the old-style kind. Wood and gut snowshoes float over the snow better, but after a while the leather stretches out and you can't pull the straps tight enough to stay on. My modern ones worked fine, but if I were to buy some, I'd want something a few inches longer than the ones I had.

Thankfully, I'm not really sore from yesterday. We have a rehearsal for Burns Night this evening, another on Wednesday, and then the performance on Friday night. I hope I can get someone to take pictures of us dancing.

Happy MLK day, all.

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