Snowshoeing is hard work. You do not just magically glide over the snow; that would be downhill skiing. I learned this as I was hiking up Mount Rainier, looking out at the smooth white mountains and wondering if my lungs were about to deflate like balloons. I had gone into it thinking it would be fairly easy; I’d sweat a little but I wouldn’t pant or anything. Turns out I did plenty of panting.
This was my first time snowshoeing and I went with Puget Sound Outdoors. We’d spent the morning driving through the kind of towns that were mainly gas stations with maybe a couple of trailers thrown in. The radio stations had a disproportionate amount of Spanish and Jesus rock. It was hazy but the sun was sort of shinning. In Washington in December, a sort of shinning sun counts as a clear blue sky. So it was a gorgeous day.
We stopped at the visitor center and ate some soup, bread, and some “ruggedly mature” cheese; that label got made fun of a lot. Originally, we had some of our soup in wine bottles to transport it better. Also, we were pulling it on a sled and sledding wasn’t allowed. Combine that with about ten college kids who may or may not be twenty one, and we got a visit from the ranger. She walked over, asked us a few questions, and looked at us semi-sternly. To her we probably seemed like paper work waiting to happen.
When we finally ended our hike my lungs were about to mutiny, but it was worth it. There was that rush of endorphins that comes after a workout. The view was spectacular. The sky was dark gray and sunset came early. The trees looked like they came from a holiday post card. Also, those of us who brought Gatorade poured it on the snow and made snow cones with it. I just ate a lot of snow. It’s surprisingly good, cool and clear with just the right amount of crunch. You should try it sometime.