My visions of snowshoeing started at as a young girl flipping through the pages of my parent’s LL Bean catalog. I always envisioned myself wearing dark neutral colors from “the Bean’s” color palette of choice with wood and leather tennis rackets strapped to my feet. *Cue record scratch sound effect*. However, that is not now my first snow shoeing experience went down.
First of all, nobody gave me the “snowshoes-don’t-really-look-like-tennis-rackets-anymore” memo. When I realized I would have to strap regular, modern looking metal devices to my feet, I was a little disappointed. I hope I’m not the only one with an unrealistic expectation of snow shoeing out there. (THANKS LL Bean.)
Cue Christmas morning and I open a box from my parent-in-loves (parent in-laws for normal people, but that’s no fun) to find beautiful sky blue snowshoes! Of course Steve and I wasted no time planning a trip to test these tennis racket imposters out! The next weekend we planned a trip to Annette Lake with a few friends.
Annette Lake is a 7.5 mile hike roundtrip with a gain of 1800 ft. in Snoqualmie Pass. It was a perfect spot to try out our snowshoes, catch some Alpine Lake views, and still be home in time for New Years Eve. It took us about 5 hours to complete including time for taking photos, eating a snack, and getting acclimated to the snowshoes.
Hitting the trail
So I will preface this whole experience with stating that at the time we walked this trail, snowshoes were definitely not necessary. The snow wasn’t very deep and the parts that were, were well packed. That being said, I really really wanted to snowshoe, dammit. Almost two decades have been leading up this!
I really wanted to spare you all and myself from the back-to-school style awkward photo but I was pumped. I don’t know what I thought would happen when I put on snowshoes but I really thought it would be magical though. So, this brings me to my next story.
I have never been one to be known for my grace and poise sadly. I can trip over my own feet and am constantly spilling things all over myself. Why am I telling you all of this? Mainly so you’re not surprised by what happened next. Excited by the prospect of floating on snow, I immediately ran up the hill next to the switchback we were putting our shoes on at. I truly, truly thought I would be invincible. Once towards the top of the hill, I lost my footing because I fell a bit through the snow and started tumbling down. Thinking quickly, I grabbed the nearest branch I saw. This happened to be a thorny bramble bush, filling my hand with slivers. Steve then had to dig 6 thorns out of my hand with a knife. That was fun.
After some small glimpses of mountains between the trees along the way, getting a full mountain and lake views was very welcomed. Just look at it. The peaks you see are Granite Mountain and Humpback Mountain.
The wind was insane this day. Without the trees to block, wind whipped across the half-frozen lake inside the mountain bowl. It was so cold! Even with my quarter zip and down jacket, the whole party was shivering down to the bone. Important note: hot chocolate in a thermos is ESSENTIAL.
With the wind moving so fast, clouds moved over the peak quickly like a river. No photo could capture the swift way it moved.
So you remember how I was just complaining about the wind? Well, anything for Instagram and the blog amirite? These 2 brave ladies and I braved the blustery winds to get a fun picture showing off our snowshoes. And apparently the one picture wasn’t cold enough, so I also had to sit down in the show simultaneously appreciating the views and freezing my butt off.
The way back down moved a lot faster for us. Because there wasn’t a ton of snow on the trail we took the snowshoes off halfway down the trail and switched to microspikes.
First snowshoeing experience
So now I’m sure you’re all dying to know, did snowshoeing live up to my 6-year-old self’s hype? Well whether you asked or not, I will tell you anyway. Truth is, not many things can lead up to the hype a year old can create from a mail-order catalog in the 90’s. Since the snow wasn’t exactly deep enough to necessitate snowshoes I don’t have a fair assessment. They were definitely a lot of fun to use and the added traction was great for the ice trail though. I’m excited to try out snowier trails this winter and really give them a fair go!
Have you ever tried out snowshoeing? What are some of your favorite trails?