This winter I decided to combined my favorite outdoor activity, backpacking, with a new found hobby, snowshoeing – snowshoe backpacking. There are some unique challenges, but there are also a great many benefits to heading out in the snow. There are definitely some more inherent dangers, and some extra skills are required but the rewards are well worth the effort. Last weekend I took a trip to the Roosevelt National Forest, about an hour and a half up the Poudre Canyon from Fort Collins. This was meant to be a short one-night field test for both my gear and my skills.
I woke before dawn and headed out of town. Looking back east in my rearview mirror the sun had just began to peep out over the mountains, changing the clouds into shades of purple, red, and pink; a just reward for the early morning rise. It is moments like these that affirm my desire to spend my weekends trekking through the snow and cold, when I could instead be sleeping in. The day was truly spectacular, warm and sunny with fresh snow hanging from the trees. Even though it is virtually the same thing, trekking in the winter is seemingly so different from trekking in the summer. There is a truly magical quality to it, the crisp air, the crunch of snow under your feet, and a glistening shimmer wherever you look.
I saw one-person the first day, and only two the next. All of them were within a mile of the trail, leaving me with the space and solitude I came out to find. The snow and cold keeps people inside but the more I walk in it, the more I fall in love with the winter wild. I came into the woods to recharge my soul, and escape the very hustle and bustle of everyday life. I breathed the cool fresh mountain air, drank pure melted snow, and was left alone to ponder my thoughts ultimately leaving me fully prepared to take on another hectic week in the city.
Check out my Tips page on Snowshoe Backpacking