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Schweitzer Blizzard hike #402

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Schweitzer Blizzard hike #402

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May 16, 2011…Schweitzer Blizzard…hike # 402

Just another spring day in North Idaho...rain forecasted for home…snow all day for Schweitzer elevation…and we could not resist. We also thought it was about time to try out our one remaining pair of sliding snowshoes. We bought two pair several years ago and sold one set because we never used them. The ‘how do we stop’ issue was always the fear factor involved in putting them on. Today was the day. The way they work is they have a skin on the bottom which allows for traction on the incline and slick for the descent.

It began to snow and blow while we were shoe-ing up. Jim had a bit a trouble getting the skis on his boots but once that was done, we started out. He was a bit wobbly at first, and did pretty well on the small hills. Walking in them up the cat-track he said was not too hard…the trick is to not think they are snowshoes…shuffle and slide instead of picking up. We stayed on all the more flat trails and when we got to Wolf Ridge we switched. Although he carried his snowshoes just in case, it was easier for him to just put mine on while I was on the skis. The snow was deep and wet so I’m sure that made it somewhat problematic. It did take a bit to get use to the feel. Stopping was hard. Luckily these trails are rolling and the declines were not to dramatic. The snow continued fall hard and the wind was blowing it sideways as we ate our lunch. It would have been a good day for hot chocolate which I stopped packing a few weeks ago. We thought we might have some rain and light snow today but we never expected this blizzard. Stupidly, I did not put my blue precip on and it wasn’t long before I got wet and cold, right thru the lighter precip. I kept the skis on for longer than I thought I would…and then took one big fall. I didn’t get hurt and it didn’t hurt to fall in the snow but I still didn’t give them up. I kept wondering how do you fall in these things and then how do you get up. It was all but impossible to get up…but I did with some help at the end from Jim. I stayed with the skis for a while longer and I could feel my legs getting weary…different muscles are used and we found that out quickly.

I had my Canon G12 with me today but I was loathe to take it out of the plastic bag…I didn’t want it to get soaked and my hands were getting cold so took very few pics. Snow fell harder and harder. The wind was cutting and stung on my face and nearly blew me over a couple of times. I smiled to myself as I remembered how much sunscreen I applied to my face that morning.

When we got home I immediately ordered a second pair of the slider snowshoes… they look a little different now but they are BLUE…my favorite color as those who know me will tell you…that I like blue almost to a fault!

Left home                    10:00

Started up                   10:55

Got to truck                 2:55

Total miles hiked          6 miles

Total hiking time           4 hours

 

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Author info

Betsy Fulling Betsy Fulling In 2002, after a bout with cancer and wanting her energy back, Betsy Fulling began hiking with her husband Jim. Regardless of the weather they go into the high country every week - in eight years, she has only missed five times.

Tagged as:

hiking, Schweitzer, Wolf Ridge, sliding snowshoes, showshoeing

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