Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tri-County Ridge Snowshoe

I left out early Saturday with my friend Justin to return to the spot Maree and I snowshoed at the previous weekend. The conditions were much different this time, having snowed overnight and continuing to snow throughout the day while he and I made our way to the top of Tri-County Ridge. When we arrived at the sno-park there was about 6-8" of snow on top of the icy crust that Maree and I hiked on. Justin and I had to break trail as we were the first snowshoers out that day (there were already some cross-country skiers ahead of us). After a few minutes on the trail I decided to attach my 5" flotation tails and was glad I had them as the powdery snow compressed 4-5" with each step. They made the going much easier.

After 0.4 miles we left the trail and headed up the ridge line. The new snow was deeper here, and we both engaged our ascent bars (a huge help!) for the climb. After several steep ascents through beautiful expanses of untouched snow, we arrived at the ridge line and were greeted with wind gusts carrying tiny ice pellets. It was like being sand blasted! We found shelter behind a tree and planned our next move.

Justin wanted to dig out a snow cave, so he descended the lee side of the ridge about thirty feet and used the heel-end of his snowshoe as a shovel (note to self: buy packable snow shovel!). I joined in and we made quick work of the excavation, cutting blocks with his pruning saw and using them to build a windbreak around the pit. Once deep enough to sit in we started digging into the hill to make an overhang and recessed area to set up my camping stove. Mac n' cheese with chili beans followed as well as a round of tea. The stove doubled as a welcome hand warmer in between heating our food and beverages. With a warm belly and a sense of accomplishment, we packed up and headed for home. As we headed back up to the ridge line, we noticed our inbound tracks were completely filled with snow, so another 6-8" fell while we were out there.

Tri-County Snowshoe

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