Friday, January 23, 2009
The younger half of GAIN went snow shoeing with a naturalist from the county today. (Hat tip to Daila -- thank you!) I waded through the snow without snow shoes. My objective was to see how snow shoes worked with smaller amounts of snow. Our previous experience was that a LOT of snow (24" base) made snow shoeing very hard, but easier than hiking with no snow shoes. Today, with snow coated with ice (from yesterday's thaw), the consensus in the van afterward was that snow shoes weren't a huge advantage unless there was a lot of powdery snow. The crust of ice just held our weight when we took the snow shoes off (no one wore them by the end).
I also wondered if snow shoes would make geocaches more accessible during winter. Winter is great for hunting in that there is no thick underbrush to deal with. (It also means ice, which definitely held me up yesterday in my quest to find three geocaches. I found one urban cache, the other two are lost to me at this time). After today in the woods, I conclude that snow shoes are great for hunting geocaches that do not require moving over steep slopes. Also, you may want to remove snow shoes if you are hunting for ground zero in a tight area. Otherwise, I see snow shoes as an advantage in lots of powder (like the ten inches we got a couple weekends ago). Going over fallen trees and walking around things are not a problem in snow shoes. I love the quiet of winter hikes, seeing the scat piles, the evidence left behind from mammals browsing for food (pictures later), and matted down areas left from sleeping deer.