Get Lost: Unexpected elevation

Yelling seemed to help a little.

Sure my feet were rubbed raw and blisters started to form and as I twisted my leg, falling sideways into the snow on a steep incline yelling seemed to be all that was left.

After a day of hiking up the side of a mountain in snowshoes, a lot of what I hadn’t prepared for took its toll on me.

I had checked avalanche conditions and brought plenty of warm clothes, but I was woefully unprepared for my first attempt at winter snowshoe hiking.

The day itself wasn’t ideal, but I was stubborn. A foggy sky and -20 C weren’t ideal for the hike I wanted, especially since the fog would preclude any rewarding view.

But I had the free time and enough will to get off the couch and go on an adventure. The snowshoes were brand new, a Christmas present from my outdoor-loving parents, and the added desire to break them in definitely played a role.

It started simply enough. Arrived at the trailhead, very clear I would be the only person on the trail today, crossed the highway and started up.

Even though it was cold out, it wasn’t long before I started to sweat. I hadn’t anticipated that.

As the hike and day wore on, my legs wore down. Added bulk from my winter attire and the snowshoes added weight and effort.

I got to my destination by lunch time, as I always try to on day hikes. I found a spot to sit and enjoy my lunch.

This is where I was woefully unprepared. As I sat, the sweat from the hike up started to freeze from the cold air. I went from hot and sweaty to very cold in an alarming span of time.

Concerned I finished my meal as fast as I could and started to walk again. Knowing if I started moving I could heat up my body temperature — and take advantage of my layers to contain what little heat it would generate.

It had the desired effect, increasing my temperature and staving off the cold.

But I was still tired and had a long walk ahead of me — fortunately it was downhill.

I started down what had become a narrow path, the paths always look different going down than up. Every few steps or so, my right foot would slide a little down the side of the slope.

As the walk progressed, the slides got longer and longer. Now I was falling down, contorting my leg and generally hurting myself.

That’s when the yelling came in. I was cold, tired and now sore. Not exactly the way you want to feel during a hike.

I made it down eventually and ready to sit in my warm car. I did learn a lesson though, bind the snowshoes tighter and maybe don’t try to tackle a steep hike on the first outing of the year.

My next snowshoe hike was relatively flatter.

Murray Crawford is an Advocate reporter/editor.


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