Snowshoeing

One of my tasks with healing from cancer is to increase my physical exercise. My oncological exercise physiologist Jo has introduced me to a group called Live by Living which sponsors outdoor recreational activities for cancer survivors and their caregivers, at no cost, and with additional support from volunteers. For example, if there is a hiking and/or camping trip, and a survivor doesn’t have the full strength to carry their own pack, a volunteer will. If you feel like supporting them with a donation or by volunteering I’m sure they would be happy to receive.

This group is having two snowshoeing trips this spring. Grant and I are on the wait list for one of them. They also offered a day hike up by Winter Park this last Saturday which we signed up for. However, when the time came, a winter storm was barreling down, which is good for winter sports, but really, really bad for driving, especially the I-70 corridor up from Denver, with die-hard ski traffic, and going up over Berthoud pass, not to mention the added distance we would be traveling just to get to said I-70 corridor, so we decided to take a pass on that one. We got pictures back and it looked like they had a great time trudging through / floating on top of new deep snow.

Well, by the time we decided not to go, I had already rented the gear from REI, and luckily we had it for the weekend, so yesterday we went up to a top secret location in Wyoming and did some walking around ourselves. Strictly speaking, we were not by ourselves. There were LOTS of people up there, mostly snowmobilers. From all over. In serious rigs: trucks, enclosed trailers, multiple snowmobiles. And they were lining the road for miles! The license plate that seemed to have come the farthest was from Wisconsin. I guess they came for some mountain fun, because surely they have plenty of snow at home!

We chose a location that was further removed from where the snowmobilers were. It was sunny, and cold. We got in a good hike. I have decided that I have found, at last, my winter sport. I have never been a skier. I think that is because I really don’t like slippy-ness. I think I have too high of a center of gravity or something. It is not comfortable to me, and not anywhere close to being fun. But walking through the beautiful snow covered high country on floaty and yet grabby crampon-endowed snowshoes is a good experience for me. As I am able financially, I will invest in a pair of my very own. End of season sales are coming up….

We took two out of four dogs. It was a big adventure for them, but a wee bit too cold on their little paws after some point so every so often we would pick them up to give them a break (…and increase our workout! Luckily they are small dogs. Still, 40 pounds of dog is 40 pounds.) If we get really serious about this, they will need winter gear themselves. REI sells some. We’ll have to save our pennies for this too.

Prior to yesterday, I tried snowshoeing for the very first time last Tuesday, up at Loveland Ski Area. Grant skied at his mountain of choice, and I rented shoes and learned how to trudge along on a trail running down the valley. I enjoyed myself, and found it very easy, until I realized, upon turning around to go back to the car, that I really had been going pretty steeply DOWN and now had to go just as steeply back UP. Good thing I had the warm-up of down first. Being that high in elevation, up near the Continental Divide (I was at about 10,400 ft/3,170 m) one’s heart works a lot harder to gather up enough oxygen, and that was definitely reflected in my AppleWatch’s heartbeat monitor.

Here are some photos of my and our various experiences.

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Addendum: My dear old Dad has offered to buy me some snowshoes!  Thanks Dad!

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