Happy New Year to my followers and fellow lovers of the outdoors.
Wishing you a happy New Year with the promise of better times ahead for all of us.
A Backpacking Journal Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier National Park
I don’t know about you but, just about everyone I hike with has a trail name.
One year we decided to go with names from the American Gladiators. For those of you too young to know about this TV show. You can get up to speed on Wikipedia.
American Gladiators aired from September 1989 to May 1996. It matched gladiators against one another and other amateur athletes.
Our house went full-tilt testosterone when all my boys got a bit over-excited about watching them duel it out.
With my kids hands all over each other, I learned hearing the theme song, evoked the motion in the room to increase. In this way I know there has to be a similar parallel to a trail names.
My boss trail name became Turbo at that time with my friends, Blaze, Lace, and Red still owning their names like a boss as I write.
Recently, I decided Turbo needed a bit of a boost and thought Xena Warrior Princess was more fitting for me.
Xena has stuck for awhile.
I’ve always thought she was better at just simply being strong and beautiful then could muster up hidden strength when necessary from the gods. I’d kind of forgotten about her.
This week I decided Xena needed to be called up again. I always work out better when I have this mindful and playful attitude about kicking ass. To prove my point Xena did some serious ass kicking this past week.
Double workouts in a day. Bike rides, long runs, charging hill sprints and backpacks loaded down with 20 pounds of cat litter on neighborhood hill hikes.
I was on fire!
Because I frequently hike around the neighborhood with a 20 pound bag of cat litter stuffed inside, at some point I was jokingly saying each time, ” I am taking my cat litter on a walk.”
Since we’ve been up-close and personal, like my new best friend this past month, I decided on a name for my backpack. It’s better than taking your cat litter on a walk.
That’s where Jonny Cache was created. Jonny Cat to Jonny Cache.
Now that one is going to stick around awhile.
A few weeks ago my friend Carrie and I ran into three ladies who had hiked the Wonderland Trail successfully a few years ago.
Since we were hut mates for the evening, Carrie, mostly picked their brains for the entire evening. Their food looked delicious and they talked about how many things they had dehydrated and dumped into ziplock baggies.
Ziplock baggies is key here because on the Wonderland it is pack it in and pack it out. You might find yourself with trash for days if you take the store brand sealable cooking pouch bags. Also if you’ve ever actually sampled those, they are hit and miss with taste with some of the desserts being overly sweet and lacking fresh taste.
When we returned after our stay at the hut, these recipes magically appeared in my email box.
I’ve also decided to dive into the world of dehydration. I should be able to do this with my oven that has low and convection settings.
Also important to note, a wonderful website TrailCooking.com
I’m doing the happy dance!
Seated left to right: Carrie, Lisa, Shannon, Susan, Catherine
Last weekend we snowshoed up to High Hut. High Hut is a part of the Mount Tahoma Ski Association hut to hut groomed ski system. You might notice the operative word here is ski and not snowshoe.
While it is permitted to snowshoe, the volunteers ask you stay to the right of the groomed area so skiers can use the cords to gracefully glide on. This is where the terms “yard sales” and “biting it” come into play.
The elevation gain is rather steep 2300′ within 4.7 miles and ends at the 5,200 ft level where you can see a picturesque view of Mt. Rainier in the background. It truly is worth the struggle to the top.
I almost always bring my GoPro with me. It is better than lugging my nice full frame Nikon DSLR. I can usually capture enough footage, that I can freeze and clip into still shots as well. Every once in a while I get in the way of myself however like in this example.
It’s a good thing my friends Carrie and Valerie were with me this day, because Carrie rescued the GoPro in a snow pile and when I took a major tumble, they both just got on adjacent sides and pulled me up off the ground. I am almost embarrassed to admit that I am such a bad snowshoer.
By the time I made it home, I decided that I was going to go get touring skis. So I ended up purchasing, with the help of another friend, this combo
There is a bit of a learning curve here however. The boots are touring boots and just above the heel you can unlock the top to get hiking mode. The bindings are called “shift” bindings, they also unlock at the foot so your heel can come loose for sliding up the hill with these other things called “skins” that you attach while going up and take off while going down. The skis are crazy too. They are wider and shorter for better, now this is what you have been waiting for “control”. It’s all about control Lisa.
I think I’ve educated myself enough on the why and how, now I just need to get practicing. Hopefully away from other people.
If you want to watch the video of the High Hut trip you can find it here.
Many times I get asked what is my favorite snowshoes. My favorite snowshoes, I’ve owned for twenty years. They are MSR Evo. They are tough and are on the small side so easy enough to walk in. There are floatation fins that can attach if you are breaking trail.
Washington State is notorious for avalanches due to our topography and wet climate. Always carry the 10 essentials, bring waterproof poncho, handwarmers, microspikes, snowshoes, shovel, probe, and transceiver, chains for snow parks. Familiarize yourself with Northwest Avalanche Center where you’ll find there are many great videos on snow safety in the back country and stop by ranger stations for trail reports before heading out.
I found this nifty package at our local REI that contains the plastic shovel, probe and transceiver.
One of my favorite places to snowshoe is located in Ashford, WA. The Mt. Tahoma Trails Association is a hut to hut cross country ski or snowshoe trail. My first snowshoe this year was late, January 18th. I wore MyZone so I could figure my calorie output. For the day, with a 20 pound weighted pack and snowshoes 3,000 calories. Garmin recorded a 14 mile trip with 1,800 elevation gain to 4,200 ft. More on why I wear both to train in the gear section and nutrition section. Washington Trails Association Trip Report
I hope to get up to Paradise at Mt. Rainier on Wednesday and snowshoe from Narada Falls to Reflection Lakes.