Sunday, November 27, 2011

Beautiful Snowshoeing Endurance Test

Amy, Sarah, and I took a long drive to Hoodoo ski area on Santiam Pass. It was a warm, beautiful day. I realized partway up the pass that I forgot our lunch which we were going to cook, but we are resourceful women and were able to find a small town grocery store stocked with our essentials: granola bars, crackers, mac and cheese, canned chicken, and avocado.

When we finally arrived at Hoodoo, we started out near the lift and planned to circle Hayrick Butte. With a butte to circle, the chances of getting lost were slim.

Amy tried her skis on once, but since this was not a groomed trail it was pretty difficult for her.

She decided to walk most of the way. The view of Hayrick butte was great! We also enjoyed seeing Sisters.

We took a nice long break to cook a meal and enjoy the butte above us. Mt. Jefferson towered in front of us!

We took another break and stopped to build a snowman- an important tradition. Amy said the snowman "was a woman". Sarah said s/he was a unicorn :-).

At this point, we were about 1.5 miles into the four mile loop and decided to continue to forge ahead. The clouds were so beautiful.

We found a trail forged for us by a skier, and headed around the butte. We ended up going too far and getting to a forest service road used by snowmobiles.

At this point, Amy was really slowing down, and knowing we were only halfway around, I strongly encouraged her to take a break riding in the sled. Being a three year old, she strongly protested this but did not continue to walk either. Even the "bribe" of a cookie break in the sled did nothing to allure her.

Being the mom and worried about the endurance of my three year old, I put her into the sled. At which point she spent about a half mile screaming. "No! Let me out! I don't want to grump!" Little did I know at this point, I should be more concerned about the endurance of Sarah!

After quite a bit of screaming and explaining that the safest thing is to take a break so that we can make it to the car before dark, I finally caved and Amy jumped out of the sled and started hiking again. She was DETERMINED and was booking it! For the rest of the trip, the only break she asked for was a hug break!

This was about the point that a snowmobile came by and asked us if we were okay. We told the driver we were okay but inquired as to how far it was to the parking lot. He said 3-4 miles. At this point we were all pretty tired and this answer was pretty discouraging.

We took off into the woods to take a shortcut, realizing we had overshot our distance a bit while following the trail. Sarah started becoming pretty sore and grumpy at that point, and was wondering why we were going up and down hills bushwacking. Amy was STILL booking it to avoid going into the sled.

We ended up back on the road further up and another snowmobile drove up to ask us if we were okay. We said we thought so but asked how far they thought it was to the parking lot. They told us a half mile and that we were making good time since the first guys asked us. (We had to wonder if the first guys had come back with a story about two crazy ladies hiking with a preschooler miles from civilization and the car).

We hiked the final half mile to complete a 5.5 mile loop! Amy hiked five of it! What a long and beautiful day! We celebrated the completion of this long trek at the Gingerbread House!

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