Seattle is a funny place. It’s a place where a group of friends is as likely to meet at a nice restaurant as in a parking lot to go snowshoeing. And so it was that I found myself at Alpental on a rainy/snowy Saturday morning, meeting our friends Erin & David, Jenn & Bryan and JenHS. (Plus “the girls” Greta and Tyr and our boys.)
I’m relatively new to the whole snow-scene and snowshoeing is so far the only winter activity that I enjoy. (I’ve tried skiing twice and because it was such a disaster I’ve been reluctant to try snowboarding. I might try cross-country sometime. We’ll see… ) So far, my snowshoeing adventures have been sort of like casual hikes, but on snow with these things strapped to my feet.
T & I got their first to find the parking lot where we were supposed to meet with a sign saying “Full” and a 20-year old motioning for us to turn around. Luckily, Erin & David weren’t too far behind and we managed to talk them into letting us squeeze into the lot about the time that the last car of Jenn & Bryan showed up. Initially, there were a ton of people on the trail including some skiers and snowboarders who would send the dogs into a frenzy as they whizzed by. It was T’s first time snowshoeing, so it took a little practice to get used to the snowshoes and negotiate Wally who was bounding into snowbanks.
After a bit, the trail thinned out and there were fewer snowboarders and skiers to rile the dogs up. It was gorgeous with tons of snow everywhere. T and I were a fair bit behind the rest of the group, due to a few stops to adjust snowshoes and whatnot:
It probably didn’t help that I kept stopping to take pictures. But how can you help it when it looks like this?
Did I mention there was lots of snow?
I didn’t notice Smokey Joe pooping when I took this picture, I swear…
The trail got more and more ambiguous and there were sections that David was blazing the trail for us. We went up steep hills and it was hard to believe these crazy contraptions that we had strapped to our feet were possibly capable of navigating them. But they did. And despite T taking a couple of spills, one of which into a tree well, nobody was injured. It was fun watching Wally in his element, bounding up steep snowbanks (although he also fell into a tree well and had a hard time getting out.)
We stopped at the appropriately named “Snow Lake” (It was covered completely in snow) and had snacks. The boys scored major snackage from us, others in our group and the couple that was on their first snowshoe trek and had sort of joined in with our group. (They’d caught up behind me & T, we’d gotten to chatting and it wasn’t like there was any other trail to really follow… )
The way back down included this crazy downhill that most of us negotiated by sliding on our butts. (Not only super graceful, but also involves some degree of ass-frostbite.) I was way behind so I missed seeing T’s trip down the hill, but everyone on the mountain must have heard his girlish squeals. (Love you, honey!) Apparently, it was quite the spectacle. But we all made it down in one piece. The trail that we started seemed so tame after the crazy back-country part:
Afterward, we ran a few errands and stopped for a super-healthy lunch at Fatburger. (After eating tons of snow, Smokey Joe had to pee, and this was the most acceptable place to eat off that exit… ) Later that evening, we grabbed take-out from the Vietnamese place around the corner and met up with Erin & David at the houseboat where they were staying. I’d never been inside a houseboat before and it was cool to see the little “dock/street” and what the inside looked like. Not to mention the enjoyable company. All in all, a very enjoyable winter Saturday!