Monday, December 20, 2010

Snowshoe Adventures

The training for our Grand Canyon hike coming up in January took an upturn on Saturday. It started as an innocent snowshoe, just like friend Wendy and I have been doing for the past couple of weeks. We started at the Sable Visitors' Center and snowshoed across the field, on the side of Trail A Cross Country Ski Trail, and over the North Country Trail Bridge to Sable Lake. Some of the deepest snow we experienced was at the east end of Sable Lake. All of the snow on the ground is still fairly new snow. Since it hasn't condensed down, the snowshoes didn't help a whole lot. With every step we were sinking down, almost to the "posthole" depth that we would have experienced if we were just walking with our boots.

We headed up into the dunes down the "back-door" trail located around the first corner from the swimmers' beach. Then we went west for awhile, before circling back to the north and then to the east. There were many sections with deep snow. We both use ski poles during our snowshoes as well as our hikes. I use my old downhill ski poles that I bought in 1969 after working at the then Welker's Lodge (now North Shore Lodge) all summer. One of the baskets is broke off the end and I haven't made the time to fix it. That was a mistake. The snow was so deep in spots that I couldn't feel bottom when I went to plant the pole.

At one point we had to make a decision as to which way we would snowshoe to head back. We decided to take the more adventurous route. As we headed that way, we tried to save time by cutting through a forest nestled between two large dunes. That was a mistake. It was not a shortcut. The forest seemed to just go forever. When we finally got through it, the dune on the other side was not climbable. We thought we adjusted our angle to still make progress out of the dunes when we all of a sudden ended up back to the spot we started at before trying to take the "shortcut." We were not in danger at any time, but we experienced how easy it is to get turned around in a winter forest.

In total we trudged around in the deep snow for 3 1/2 hours. We were both exhausted.

This first photo shows Wendy up on a ridge with the frozen Sable Lake in the background.

This shot shows the angle toward the "shortcut" forest. Doesn't it look like it would be easy to cut through the forest rather than go around the left end of the forest? It wasn't.

A wide view of the dunes looking north toward Lake Superior.

When we walked through the woods over toward Sable Lake, we followed some human footprints and spotted this tree stand being used by a local hunter.

Some of you may remember the picture I took last year that showed the snow depth on the south side of my house over top of the roof. Here is an early winter photo that shows the depth already to be around four feet tall. My bean poles are around eight feet tall.

Here is a shot of some of my apple trees. Friend, Renee, came over yesterday to help me "groom" my cross country ski trail around my property by snowshoeing the route.

Here is another shot of our bay taken this past week. When the wind was calm, the entire bay was covered in ice. However, when the wind picked up, it pushed the ice toward shore.

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