This past weekend got off to a bad start. I had been looking forward to at least one day of chukar hunting, but when getting home Friday evening I noticed that Shadow had opened up the wound from Nevada. I thought it had healed, but…
Anyway, I was feeling a little bummed Saturday evening until we received an email from John asking if we wanted to get out Sunday morning for a little hike/snowshoe up an obscure mountain. With Dylan already having plans, I made the mistake of accepting without asking Tam. She gave me a little crap, but probably realized it would be best if I got out.
Did I mention we left Sunday morning? The plan was to meet at John’s house at 5AM, so I was up at 4AM getting ready!! Wow that was early, but surprisingly I had no trouble waking up. It’s amazing how easy it is to get out of bed when you’re leaving on an adventure.
I met up with John and Michael at the designated time and quickly loaded my gear into John’s truck in the dark. It wasn’t long before we were parked at the “trailhead” and were getting ready to go. At this point I realized that I only had one gaiter. I was a little perplexed and worried at the same time. Perplexed because I knew I had brought two and worried that with only one gaiter I would possibly be fighting snow filling the other boot. Oh well, time to head out. The temperature was a crisp 19 degrees with a slight wind.
Upon leaving the truck we immediately headed up at a steep angle through the sagebrush with our head lamps blazing. There wasn’t too much conversation until we reached a point where the steepness subsided enough had to catch our breath. At about this point the sun peaked over the mountains.
As we progressed higher through sagebrush, buck brush, and alders the wind started picking up a bit. We tried to stay off the ridge tops to minimize the wind, but there didn’t seem to be much refuge. Other than the wind it was a spectacular day with the Owyhee’s in clear view.
John and I switched to snowshoes when the snow was over our ankles and we had moved high enough to be out of the brush. I had been worried the whole time about filling my boot with snow, and felt much better once the shoes were on. Michael, who was charging ahead, continued on a ways before stopping to put on his shoes.
After another hour or so I was bringing up the rear as we hit the summit at 7700 feet. Unfortunately there really wasn’t a spot where we could get completely out of the wind on top, so I downed a PBJ, John took a quick splattski (http://www.splattski.com/2011/house/Assets/Images/summit_big.jpg) and we then heading back down.
We had some great conversational topics on the way down so the time went quickly and it took my thoughts off my aching knees. We reached the truck at roughly 1:30 for a round trip time of 6 ½ hours. We traveled 9 miles with 3800 feet elevation gain.
A great day getting out on snowshoes for the first time this year with excellent company.
P.S. – I found my other gaiter sitting on the road behind my car!