In January, I asked readers to help me with one of my resolutions, trying something new. While it doesn’t make my annual list, it’s a recurring resolution in an attempt to stave off boredom and infuse life with a little adventure, however small.
I’m still open for ideas.
So far, the only suggestions I’ve received are to learn a new instrument and go snowshoeing. The musical endeavor will take some practice, so if anyone has an old flute gathering dust, let me know. I’m willing to try, even if my notes blow.
Last week, I tackled the other idea by going snowshoeing with my running partner Susan. We both love to hike and other active outdoor pursuits, but neither of us had ever strapped on those wintertime webbed feet for a trek through the woods.
Since it was our first time, Susan found us an organized event, the Souper Bowl 2015. We were thrilled that our entry fees benefit the Women’s and Children’s Free Restaurant, which aims to fill nutritional gaps for needy women and children in our community.
Besides funding a good cause, event organizers thought of everything newbie snowshoers like us might need, from transportation to Mount Spokane and snowshoe rental to a supported route with snack stops and lunch at the end of our excursion.
This ensured we wouldn’t go hungry or get lost and reduced the likelihood of sliding off-route into a snowdrift.
Early on Super Bowl Sunday, we headed to the bus stop. After checking in, we were the first to clamber aboard the big yellow school bus, so we headed for the back seat. If memory serves, that’s where all the cool kids sit. It’s also an adventure in itself.
I’d forgotten you can catch air back there when the bus driver hits a big bump, inevitable in Spokane with our plentiful potholes. It’s also a heart-pumping place to perch when the bus slips a little on newly fallen snow as it powers around one of the hairpin turns heading up the mountain.
Catching my breath, I clutched the seat in front of me while peering through steamy windows. From my height, I couldn’t see the edge of the road, only a steep drop-off. My snowshoeing anticipation gave way to morbid imaginings of what might happen if we slid, rolled or tipped off the road.
Thankfully, our driver was an unflappable professional, and we reached our destination unscathed.
There, a fellow from Fitness Fanatics fitted my feet into a set of snowshoes.
To my surprise and relief, it didn’t take any skill to maneuver across the crusty snow where a new layer of powder was accumulating.
After a few feet of feeling like a duck I realized I didn’t need to waddle, and that my footwear didn’t require a lot of coordination. If you can walk as well as a toddler in his dad’s size 12s, you can successfully showshoe. You simply walk a little bit wider with a gunslinger swagger.
As we swaggered along the trail, the only sound was scattered conversation and the rhythmic squeaky crunches of our footfalls on old snow.
Wanting to get a bit of a workout, we walked briskly, stopping several times to take pictures of breathtaking views. Snow falling on pine. Sasquatch.
The hairy creature with feet as big as snowshoes wasn’t wearing the pinstripe suit described in Sharma Shields’ new novel. Instead, he sported an REI T-shirt. He, as well as the volunteers that dotted our 4-mile round trip trek, offered us a card. After collecting five we had a poker hand. My straight flush won a backpack during a soup lunch back at the lodge.
A few minutes later Susan won a raffle prize – a free entry into the Valley Girl Triathlon. That’s another thing I’ve never done, so today I signed up to join her. We can’t wait for our next adventure.
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