Monday, December 10, 2012

Escaping the rain

While I enjoy my work bike commute here even if it rains, I have not taken my mountain bike on trails yet. I guess there is a deep resistance in me to go mountain biking when the weather is "bad" or trails are wet and muddy. I did venture out to the mountains though, last weekend skiing at Stevens Pass in a foot of fresh powder was great, made even better by a 2-hour drive to the slopes and $40 lift ticket. This week, Stevens Pass got four feet of fresh snow on friday and six (!) feet Saturday.
I start to get it, when it pours in Seattle, it dumps powder couple of hours worth of drive away. So when a group of colleagues organized a snowshoeing trip to Mt. Rainier, I signed up, thinking, well it is not going top be as much fun as off-piste skiing the steeps and deeps, but perhaps I would try to get an aerobic workout on snowshoes. The Paradise area at Mt. Rainier looked very different than three months ago when I was there last.

Paradise, photo by Bob
Snow was deep, deep enough to make my large borrowed snowshoes sink while breaking the first track of the day. After a couple of hundred meters, I was breathing hard and the trail was downhill.

But after a while, I got the rhythm of making small steps and trying to glide on the surface and I was surprised how fast I was moving. Given the time I had for this hike, I went fast for about an hour and half before I had to turn around.

The trail theoretically looped back to the lodge but I was afraid to venture into the untracked terrain, since besides a sandwich, water and couple of power bars, I had no special gear with me. Starting the climb back in early afternoon, the clouds broke and some rays of sunshine made the scenery even nicer, if that was even possible.

I have to say that this three hour walk covering a distance of probably four miles was amazing, besides the obvious beauty of the surrounding nature, and for the intensity of exercise. I am still a firm believer in skis as the right tool for moving in or on snow, but this new experience was great. A huge Korean barbecue which concluded the day made it just perfect.

1 comment:

  1. Aah, Paradise! Love it. Glad to see you're settling in. My skier friends won't stop gushing about this past weekend at Stevens. :)