A snowshoe adventure

This February, Minnesota decided to show us what a good old snowmageddon feels like. With over 30 inches of snow in the month it became the snowiest February on record, and one of the snowiest months ever. All of this meant that people like myself who love playing outside in the winter have a magical playground waiting for them. In particular, this year was amazing for getting out the snowshoes.

There was one problem though… I didn’t own any. I hemmed and haw’d for weeks deciding what to buy until finally a couple of weeks ago I pulled the trigger on some clearance Redfeather Hike shoes from REI Outlet. The price was right, and as luck would have it, we had one more snow storm on track for the weekend after they were arriving. I would get at least one shot at using them before we turn into a wet mess.

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This past weekend my buddy Mike B. and I headed out to the Elm Creek Singletrack to snowshoe for a while. The snow had just stopped on Sunday morning and so we were the absolute first people on the trail. We headed out and I got used to the different movement that you need to make when wearing snowshoes. It’s a lot of quad work when lifting your legs higher, and made the entire morning feel like a slight hill workout.

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I need to work on my look. Mike looks way cooler than me!

We were breaking trail the whole way, but the shoes made it easy to stay on top of. We managed to cut a decent path that the bike groomers could use as a base later in the day. Our biggest issue was all of the low hanging branches that were collapsing under the weight of the snow. We had to stop far more often than we would have liked to shake snow off the trees, so that they would no longer bend down and block our path.

img_4166Despite this, the morning was amazingly beautiful. The sky was incredibly blue, and the temps were in the upper 20’s. We only had to wear light layers to stay comfortable, and at times I was even taking off my hat. In the end we did 7 miles in about 3 hours of hiking. My Strava showed that I got a decent workout through it all and I certainly felt the burn when I got done.

img_4167The one issue was that I was wearing my new Vasque Arrowhead boots, and it turns out that they are just a bit too big for me. I will most likely need to wear multiple layers of socks when wearing them in the future. However, I ended up with two very severe blisters on the back of my ankles where my foot was loose.

img_4169When snowshoeing your foot moves up and down a lot, and that meant that my ankles were constantly rubbing. About half-way into the hike I noticed the problem, but I had nothing with me to fix the problem, so I had to just soldier through and get back to the car. Two days later and I’m still in intense pain when they get rubbed. It’s time for some aloe treatments tonight to try and speed up healing.

Despite this issue, I absolutely loved snowshoeing. It was some of the most fun I’ve had out on the trails in a long time. I got to spend time with a good friend, on a beautiful morning, doing something amazing. You can’t ask for much more.

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