Thursday, January 22, 2009

Went Snowshoeing...

So I actually went out and did the snowshoeing today. It was still quite a bit colder than I would have liked...23 degrees with a windchill of down around 8 or so. But I got bundled up and headed to the Cascades Park to get some trekking done. I was on the golf course, and there was evidence that others had been there before me...obviously, some tracks and trails. I figured that it would be okay to go out on the golf course, because there is a sign right at the entrance that says "Please Do Not Ski on Tees or Greens." I took that to mean that it was okay to ski anywhere else...and snowshoeing I figured would fit into that category as well. To my surprise, there were actually a few snowshoe tracks right near the ski tracks when I started. If you look closely, you can see them in this picture.
I started out following along the snowshoe tracks that were already there. Everything that I have read says to follow where those have been before you, so I figured I'd take that advice. The few times I did go offtrail, I realized how much more difficult it is to break trail yourself. The snow was well over 12 inches deep out there, and the snowshoes were only sinking in about 6 inches or so. Not bad. I tested my weight on just my hands at one point, and went all the way to the ground. So the float of the snowshoes was keeping me at least 6 inches higher than I would have been in regular boots. The snowshoes were working well, even though the snow was still really powdery and isn't the best for supporting weight. I've contemplated returning my 30 inch shoes and getting some 36 inch shoes because they may be a bit better for my weight...but I'm trying to lose weight, so hopefully by next winter I'll be more in need of the 30 inch shoes. So I'm not going to exchange them. Everything I've read says to go with the smallest shoes that will actually support you, and the 30 inche shoes support me pretty well. I'm sure they'll work even better once the snow actually packs down a bit more.

I walked approximately 1100 paces back onto the course. I crossed over a pond...on a bridge of course, I wasn't crazy enough to go out on the ice...and made my way along the trail at a fairly decent pace. I was taking steps that were about 24 inches long, give or take, so I figure that my 1100 paces would work out to about 2200 feet...or just under half a mile. I got to a point that I thought would be a good point to turn around. Of course, I'm trying to get in better shape, so I wasn't out there to try and walk 5 miles away from the car. I made the mistake of not having breakfast before I left, and I also didn't have any fluids with me, so by that point I kind of felt a cramp coming along. I decided to take a break at the spot that I was turning around at. I just lay down in the snow for about 5 minutes...then I got up and started my way back. Those 1100 paces back were actually easier than the paces into the course...probably because I was now travelling on a trail that had been traversed by someone before me and myself. So basically the trail was a bit more well travelled now. The going was relatively easy, and I actually got pretty warm. I decided not to take my gear off at all though, because I figured if I did the sweat might end up freezing, which wouldn't have been good.

Here's a picture of the course from about halfway through my trek.
One thing that was nice about the spot that I decided to turn around at was that it was pretty clearly noticeable. I believe it was a tee area for a hole...well, the walk up to the tee, at least. So the next time that I go out there, I'll easily be able to go to the same spot, and hopefully go further. It will be a good way for me to try to go a little bit further every time that I go. I will probably try to go again next week on Wednesday or Tuesday, seeing as there's no chance really that the snow will be melted by then. So I'll obviously get to see if eating breakfast and taking some water with me can make any difference in my ability to endure a little bit longer trek. Hopefully by then I'll also have my new facemask, as my nose did still get very cold today. I also may want to think about getting some poles to use. I noticed the tracks from the people before me had poles with them, and I think that the poles might help a little bit with keeping my balance...not that I fell a lot or anything, but I sometimes felt wobbly, especially when the snow would be different consistencies.

All in all though, it was pretty cool. A nice workout, some nice scenery, very peaceful, and fun. I look forward to going again, and maybe even finding some other places to explore with this newfound winter pastime.

1 comment:

Doug said...

This brings back a lot of good memories when my dad and I used to go x-country skiing. We frequently hit the parks and golf courses (the ones that allowed it).
Quiet, Peaceful, good exercise, a lot of fun, and no worries about accidently ending up on an expert downhill slope!