Monday, January 28, 2008


Map of Snoqualmie Pass, WA US

We tried a new thing on Saturday--snowshoeing! T, A, C, and I bought waterproof pants from Valu Village (accent on second syllable), rented snowshoes from REI, and set out with a class from the Renton Parks Dept. We drove past Snoqualmie Pass to Kachess Lake, about an hour east of Seattle. It was an hour going out, but longer coming back in the accumulated snow!

The parking lot was slick as a salesman. We slipped around, bared ass to cold toilet seat before donning our gear, going from land lubbers to abominable snowmen. It came kind of natural, though, trudging through the snow on new feet (except it was easy to step on your own shoes). After a lesson in climbing uphill, we set out like ducklings on first solo journeys. I found my assertiveness helped much more than caution; I kicked the balls of my feet into the hollows, engaging the metal cleats on the shoes, then pulled myself up with poles and arms. Going downhill was counter-intuitive, crouching forward like Groucho Marx, putting poles in the snow ahead (like putting out a cigar?). Lean back like you would walking down the very steep James St in downtown Seattle and the cleats would disengage and you would slide down the hill. Much of the snow was packed and therefore loud to walk on. Walking in the woods was a little quieter, since the snow stayed in the shadows it hadn't melted and re-frozen.

Excruciating pain in my fingers after lunch!! So cold I thought I would take the glove off and the fingers would stay in the glove! Warming them up on my body, under my shirt, helped a bit but not enough. Finally my blood was pumping enough to pump the blood even to the tips of my fingers. My hair was crunchy and my arms surprisingly sore. The toe warmers really worked, though! My toes stayed really warm. I paid $1.80 for two packets of iron, carbon, and water--like magic, man. Stopping to gaze around us (after we were warmed up) was very peaceful, quiet, with snow falling all around, and on our faces.

It snowed the entire time we were out there. Our guide guessed we covered about 4.5 miles. I-90 was covered in snow as we headed back to town. I couldn't stay awake in the van...zzz....

See Flickr for more photos.

"The author" at Kachess Lake, posing on request