Authored By Kathy, Day Hiking Ambassador
I have to confess; I’m the black sheep of my hot-weather, beach-loving family. They and many of my friends shake their heads in bewilderment and dismay when I publicly profess my love of winter, cold and SNOW. It’s true. I’m a Snow Fan(atic)! I simply love snow!
I’m totally unrepentant though and when the last patch of dirty, icy slush disappears in the blazing temperatures of summer, I start studying the almanac, planning for the return of freezing temperatures and that wonderful white stuff. I become obsessed with the weather because, the advent of that wonderful white stuff is a prerequisite for my favorite winter activity and that’s SNOWSHOEING!
However, I know it will be several weeks yet before there will be any significant precipitation of the frozen kind and most likely several weeks after that before I can don my snowshoes without the possibility of having to carry them more than wear them.
So, to tide me over the snowless summer months, I busy myself with hiking and backpacking. This serves two main purposes; keeping me sane with outdoor activity and exercising my body so as to prevent me from being a marshmallow when snowshoeing season does come around.
This summer, I decided to put my hot-weather trekking to additional good use as research for trails I’d like to explore when the world is white and the trails are silent and serene.
Many trails that are great in the summertime just aren’t do-able once they are snow-covered. Knowing that in advance might save me the disappointment of having to turn back when a path dwindles to what would be a passable, albeit narrow, ledge when dry but when snow-covered would require acrobatic skills as I try to swing one snowshoe in front of the other while wobbling on one leg. (I should insert here that my dad affectionately called me “Tanglefoot” when I was growing up!)
So, I’ve started to take notes about different routes, rating them for suitability for snowshoeing.
For instance, during a recent trip to Utah, I scouted out the Alta area and Albion Basin as I know I will be back there in January, 2015 and Utah is noted for its glorious powder. My first try was the trail to Cecret (or Secret) Lake in the Wasatch National Forest in the Little Cottonwood Canyons (Albion Basin). This trail is 1.2 miles into the lake with an elevation gain of 470 feet from 9,500 feet to 9,970 feet – thin air up there! That’s a 7.4% grade and only moderately steep in places.
The trail starts out from a parking lot near a campground with rest rooms (yay!) and fairly steadily goes uphill through what in the summertime is pine forest mixed with gorgeous fields of wildflowers until a pretty little lake ringed by high cliffs and boulders is reached. Great place for a picnic lunch! I was pleased to note, the trail is wide for almost the entire way and I think even the narrowest parts will be totally passable on snowshoes when covered with the average annual snowfall of 50 feet (!). And I saw a couple of MOOSE! Definitely a four-star possibility for this coming winter’s snowshoeing adventures! Can’t wait to see those mountain vistas blanketed in white!
A few days later, I was on the hiking trails again, enjoying the warmth and wildflowers near Mt. Brighton on the Twin Lake Trail. My goal originally was Lake Mary, but I missed an unmarked turn-off and ended up at Twin Lakes. No worry, it was a beautiful hike, of 1.3 miles one way with an elevation gain of 650 feet to a high point of 9,480 feet at a 9.5% grade. The way was wide, steadily uphill, but gentle and the views were spectacular. The gurgling of a small brook was the only sound I heard until the crunch of dry grass alerted me to a small mule deer browsing nearby.
Now while this would be a perfect snowshoe adventure, alas, the trail is on the Mt. Brighton SKI Resort property and if I didn’t get run over by a hotdog snowboarder next January, I’d probably be carted off the mountain by ski patrol! Good to know, eh?
The day wasn’t in vain though as I found the Solitude Nordic Center just down the road which I suspect is a little slice of heaven on earth for those of us with “big feet”!
Now that I’ve made the mental decision to scope out future snowshoeing destinations, I am excited about even more summer hiking trips. Tomorrow, I’m off to a hike to Mt Harvard near Buena Vista, Colorado where while I’m slaving up that mighty 14er in the heat of day, I’ll be dreaming of cold weather and planning a future snowshoe trek when all is covered in white snow! See you on the trails!
Tubbs Snowshoes is excited to introduce the third year of our Ambassador Program! We’re looking for 12 intrepid snowshoe enthusiasts who can best capture the experience of snowshoeing – from the lessons of a beginner to a seasoned veteran – with words and photos to help show winter’s wonder. With four categories to apply to, and four accompanying gear packages, don’t miss your chance to earn new Tubbs snowshoes and contribute to the Tubbs team all winter long!
Ambassador Entry Categories: Our snowshoe line is divided into four main categories and we are looking for three ambassadors to represent each category. Choose the category that best represents you, and send us your entry today!
Have you ever gone snowshoeing before, or are you a snowshoer newbie? Are you interested in a new winter fitness opportunity? You might be a perfect candidate if you like being outdoors and trying new things. We want to hear about your experiences starting something new and what feedback you can give to those new to this winter activity.
Short Story Submission Topic: What new opportunities do you think snowshoeing will open up for you?
Ambassador Gear Kit: 2 pairs of Xplore Snowshoes, 2 pairs of Tubbs 2-Part Snowshoe Poles, 2 sets of men’s or women’s gaiters, Tubbs custom belt, a Tubbs beanie and other perks.
Retail value: $495
Are you a hiker that becomes a snowshoer in the winter? Do you like to travel your favorite trails in the winter to see how they have become transformed in winter white? Do you have some set trails that you consistently follow or do you like to find new trails? If you answered yes to some of these questions you might be the perfect candidate for this category! We are looking for people to share their outings and experiences with others to inspire more people to get outdoors and explore the winter trails.
Short Story Submission Topic: What was one of your favorite past trips? Why did this trip stand out?
Ambassador Gear Kit: 2 pairs of Tubbs FLEX RDG snowshoes, 2 pairs of Tubbs 2-Part Snowshoe Poles, 2 sets of men’s or women’s gaiters, Tubbs custom belt, a Tubbs beanie and other perks.
Retail value: $575
Do you plan backpacking trips in the winter? Or do you prefer to leave the trail behind to make your own? If backcountry travel is your favorite way to spend time in the winter, you would be a perfect fit in this category! We want to hear where you like to go, how to best tackle backcountry adventure, and what your tips and tricks are.
Short Story Submission Topic: What was your most brazen snowshoe adventure? What made it stand out?
Ambassador Gear Kit: 2 pairs of Tubbs FLEX VRT snowshoes, 2 pairs of Tubbs 3-Part Snowshoe Poles, 2 sets of men’s or women’s gaiters, Tubbs custom belt, a Tubbs beanie and other perks.
Retail value: $725
Would your family benefit from some time in the snow but do you not want to spend money on expensive gear, tickets, and lessons? Do you encourage your family to get outside in the winter? If so, your family might be the perfect fit for this category! We are looking for families to share their all-age outdoor adventures. We want to know everything from how to best plan outings, what favorite snow games you play and how to keep the kiddos happy while out in the cold. We’d also love to hear from your kids as Junior Ambassadors and what they think of snowshoeing!
Short Story Submission Topic: Who most inspired you or gave you an appreciation for snowshoeing and outdoor winter fun?
Ambassador Gear Kit: 2 pairs of Tubbs Journey snowshoes, 2 pairs of Tubbs Storm snowshoes, 2 pairs of Tubbs 2-Part Snowshoe Poles, 2 sets of men’s or women’s gaiters, Tubbs custom belt, a Tubbs beanie and other perks.
Retail value: $655
Choose an entry category above, and email us your entry (400 words max, please!) on the category topic. We want to know why we should pick you, get a feel for your writing style, the things you like to do, and what motivates you. Also, please include your social media handles, e.g., facebook.com/tubbssnowshoes, @tubbssnowshoes, pinterest.com/tubbssnowshoes. We want to get a feel for how you interact with your followers. If you have them, please include Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Yonder. All submissions are due by September 15th, 2014. New Ambassadors will be chosen by the Tubbs Marketing Team, deciding on who best exemplifies each category. New Ambassadors will be announced after September 15, 2014, and selected Ambassadors will create a formal Ambassador agreement with the Tubbs Snowshoes Marketing Team. No purchase necessary, contest only for those in the United States, and no employee of Tubbs Snowshoes will be considered. All entries become the property of Tubbs Snowshoes when submitted and will not be returned to entrant. Mail-in registrations must be postmarked by September 11th, 2014. Full explanation of contest rules and how we will judge the entries can be found: http://assets.k2sports.com/tubbs/ftptubbs/files/1415-Formal-Rules-and-Regulations-for-the-Tubbs-Ambassador-Program.pdf
Send your submission to:
firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Tubbs Ambassador Application
ATTN: Tubbs Ambassador Application
4201 6th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108
What will Tubbs Ambassadors do?
Tubbs Ambassadors will be responsible for sending us content from their awesome adventures – adventure posts, inspirational stories, and fun photos of their exploration over the year!
- Provide a written profile and photo for the Tubbs Ambassador website;
- Send in monthly web content and photos for posting to the Tubbs blog and inclusion in collateral. Your home base should consistently get snow or you should be willing to travel to snow in order to get your monthly content submitted throughout the winter;
- Post short bimonthly Facebook posts to the Tubbs Facebook page;
- Interact with Tubbs via Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest;
- Participate in online graphic/product focus groups for new Tubbs products;
- Attend a regional Tubbs-sponsored event like Tubbs Romp to Stomp out Breast Cancer Snowshoe Series as a guest of Tubbs, if in your region.
Get Started Today!
Don’t wait! Start your submission today, and show us why you should be the next Tubbs Ambassador! We can’t wait to hear your enthusiasm and share your stories with other Tubbs fans and the next generation of snowshoers.
About the Tubbs Snowshoes brand and products: www.tubbssnowshoes.com
About Tubbs Romp to Stomp: www.tubbsromptostomp.com
From Alaska to Maine, the United States National Parks Service provides protection for epic vistas, pristine valleys, and soaring peaks for our enjoyment. Read below about snowshoeing in three of the nearly 400 National Parks; Denali National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, and Great Sand Dunes National Park.
DENALI NATIONAL PARK
Covering over 6 million acres in Alaska’s interior, Denali National Park includes various landscapes including forest, taiga, and tundra. In the park’s center, Mt. McKinley towers above, reaching over 20,000 feet in elevation.
During the winter the National Park provides free use of snowshoes. Visitors frequently snowshoe a trail to Mt. Healy, or take a trail to Horseshoe Lake. Another favorite is the McKinley Station Trail, which takes park visitors across the Hines Creek and to a suspension bridge over Riley Creek.
At its lowest, the temperatures can reach -40F to -50F, but the average December temperature is around 7 degrees F, Jan is 3 degrees F, and Feb is 7.6 degrees. One park ranger mentioned, “We really like it when its above zero!”
For more information about snowshoeing in Denali National Park, please visit their website linked HERE.
MT. RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
Located in Tubbs’ backyard, and known to natives as “Tahoma,” Mt. Rainier is a part of Pacific Northwest culture. The park that surrounds the volcano offers perspectives of the glaciers hanging on to the granite, and waterfalls flowing from snowmelt. Beyond the landscape, the wildlife is a sight to be seen—black bears, mountain goats, marmots, and pikas roam the meadows.
During the winter, Ranger lead snowshoe tours help new snowshoers feel more comfortable in the wilderness. In the summer, snow sticks around the higher elevations that are accessible to visitors until nearly September. This provides opportunities to snowshoe in shorts and tshirts, and LOTS of sunscreen!
Two Tubbs Ambassadors recently spent time at Mt. Rainier, with great success.
Family Ambassador John S., doesn’t let snowshoeing season stop until all of the snow is gone. He proved this by heading up in elevation, with his three kids in tow. Read More >
Backcountry Ambassador Tim T., flew from Minnesota to successfully summit the 14,411 ft. peak. He shares his determination and experience on our blog. Read More >
GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
Containing the tallest dune in North America, Great Sand Dunes National Park is located in Southern Colorado and covers almost 85,000 acres. Considered a “high desert,” temperatures reach 100°F in the summer, and dip below 0°F in the winter. Dig just a few feet down, even at the top of the dunes, and you’ll find wet sand!
Snowshoeing on the snow-covered dunes in the winter provides sweeping views of the mountains in the distance, but our Ambassador Kathy decided to take her family to the dunes this spring, for an attempt at “sandshoeing.” Read about their fun HERE.
Psst. Want to know an honest-to-goodness Pacific Northwest secret? Keep it quiet because they might kick me out of the state if I tell you. The truth is… you can snowshoe all year long out here. Yeah. Even in Summer.
As long as you’re willing to chase the snow there’s snow to be had. It can be a lifesaver when the temperatures here skyrocket into the 80s. (Once, we even had a high temperature of 90 degrees! And you thought it rained all the time in the Northwest.)
By far the easiest snow to access, not to mention the most scenic, is in Mount Rainier National Park. There are two visitor centers located high on the mountain that have snow or make access to snow much simpler.
Sunrise is in the northeast corner of the park. It’s the least developed of the two high elevation visitor centers and doesn’t open to the public until late June or sometimes July. When the snow covers the meadows you can make your own trail up to the ridge to look into the basin on the other side. That is, if you can take your eyes off the Mountain itself.
From the ridge you can hike toward the mountain to join a network of trails including the Wonderland Trail that circles the peak over 93 miles. Some easier, but still magnificent destinations include Frozen Lake, the Fremont Lookout, or the three peaks of Burroughs Mountain. All have amazing views as well as their own special features. Be on the lookout for hoary marmots and mountain goats.
On the south side of the park is Paradise. With year-round access and a great visitor center (not to mention the Paradise Inn open during the Summer) it’s where first time visitors should start. Paradise gets about 641 inches of snow each year that lasts well into the summer. (Yes, that’s more than 50 feet of snow!) Until the meadows melt out the snowfields close to the visitor center are covered with visitors enjoying the novelty of snow.
Snowshoe up only a few hundred feet and the crowds thin almost to nothing. Climbers make their way toward Camp Muir, about 5,000 feet higher on the mountain, or train for glacier travel on the safer slopes. You wouldn’t think such a short distance would make a difference, but the views get better with every step. And for every foot you climb, that’s a foot you can glissade. Just remember to take off your snowshoes before you slide down.
Even late in the summer you can find snow by packing your snowshoes up the trail from Paradise. Pass by the amazing displays of wildflowers in the meadows until you get to the snow. The Muir Snowfield has snow all year long and provides unmarred intimate views of the southern face of Rainier. (If you start up the Muir Snowfield you need to be prepared. WTA has a good route description.)
Make sure you have sunglasses, plenty of sunscreen, and dress in layers. Weather can move in quickly so you’ll need warm layers in case a storm hits, but also t-shirts when the sun comes out.
As good as they sound, beware these trips. They’re so good you’ll find yourself pushing higher and higher on the mountain. Before you know it, you’ll be climbing for the summit like Backcountry Ambassador Tim. When you go, make sure you do your Tubbs proud.
To all you snowshoers and hikers -
I’m Tori, and I’ve spent the last few months of college working as a marketing intern with Tubbs Snowshoes. It’s been a blast working with the marketing team, and having the opportunity to connect with awesome people like you in the outdoor industry!
Here’s how my days typically went at Tubbs, along with a few things I learned:
9:00am – arrive at the office – with coffee in hand – our headquarters are in Seattle after all!
9:00am-noon – I worked on various projects with the marketing team – anything from attending meetings, writing press releases, monitoring social media, or connecting with brand ambassadors. It was really great getting to work with other people who love the outdoors and snowsports as much as I do, which made our projects fun and collaborative.
12pm – lunch break – there were plenty of opportunities for Tubbs team bonding, and a few of our lunch breaks included skating on Alki Beach nearby or watching the World Cup games at local restaurants. (There’s also a trampoline and a gym in the Tubbs warehouse!)
12pm-2pm – since I was only at Tubbs part time while I finished school at the University of Washington, I typically left around 2pm. The later half of the day I had more time to work on my own projects for the brand. One of the most fun things I got to work on was planning a group hike for National Trails Day. We got together a group of brand ambassadors and friends to represent Tubbs at Lake Serene in the North Cascade mountains.
My time at Tubbs really gave important meaning to my college experience and prepared me with some essential skills for my future marketing career within the outdoor industry. Connecting with people who share my love for the outdoors is definitely something that energizes me to go to work everyday, and it brings energy into the industry. I think it’s safe to say that one of the prerequisites for working at Tubbs is a love for snow and the outdoors.
Even though my career in the outdoor industry is just beginning, I’m looking forward to mixing my work with time outside and bringing energy into the things I’m already passionate about – spending time in the mountains with awesome people!
Successfully summiting Mt. Rainier seems likes a daunting, near impossible endeavor from the flatlands and “thick air” of the Midwest. Literature, blogs and the wisdom of those we spoke to who had been on “The Mountain” suggested that if the weather cooperated there was always the clear reality of succumbing to AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) and having to turn back short of the summit. Yet there it stood. Silently waiting, enticing the adventurer to try, regardless of state of origin.
So the Midwest crew was assembled, training plans were set and executed but in the back of our minds, as we had heard so many times, we knew there was truly no adequate way to train for the difference in elevation. We could only hope our mental fortitude would make up the difference and get us up—and safely back down!
The four of us arrived in Ashford in mid-June, drank a few beers, talked a little smack but, on training day laced up the boots in all seriousness. This day was well spent time in understanding what we could expect to see on the mountain as far as slope, crevasse crossings, rope travel, etc. We also had the chance to meet the other half of our 9 person team which was of semi-concern as we would undoubtedly be “roped up” with complete strangers during the most dangerous parts of the climb. The day also served its purpose in calming the nerves. I find taking physical action is the best remedy to slowing the mind from creating all kinds of potential untruths, and this is a strategy I employed throughout our trip.
Departure for the climb itself came quickly and we found ourselves on the shuttle to Paradise (~5400 ft.). Less nervous now but still full of anticipation, I felt like a race horse at the Kentucky Derby, being held by the gate but completely focused and ready to run! I was happy to feel the weight of my pack and let the slope of the mountain and my legs be the cause of the increase in heart rate. We reached Camp Muir (~10,300 ft.) without incident, for me somewhat tired but not exhausted. This was obviously encouraging and I mentally reviewed my training plan. Maybe it wasn’t as inadequate as once thought however, I knew deep down inside the Muir Snowfield was nothing compared to the upper mountain.
Based on reading that Camp Muir had a capacity of 110 climbers I anticipated it would be highly populated. In reality it was busy but not really over crowded, especially for a beautiful weekend in June! The climber’s shelter was a trip, big enough to fit 18 climbers shoulder to shoulder in sleeping bags, little room to sit and a shelf to hold hot/cold water. It created an interesting experience the night before the summit attempt as we all, all 17 climbers, laid down to sleep at 6pm. I didn’t sleep a wink but some (of the lucky ones) managed to catch intermittent periods of shut-eye. With 17 climbers it seemed at least one was always on the move: shuffling gear, peeling off layers, drinking water, running to the head. Every time a flashlight went on I thought the guides were coming in for the “morning” wakeup call. This actually occurred at 11:30pm. Game on! We had one hour to eat, take care of business, load the packs, gear up and clip into our rope team.
We started the climb on time: 12:30am Monday, June 23rd. Everyone was pretty much silent as we left in total darkness, a result of nerves and anticipation I’m sure. We only heard the sound of our ice axes scrapping the snow, our crampons crunching on the frozen ground and the site of headlamps scanning the mountain side out in front of us. As we moved on through the night, time and spacial awareness seemed to disappear; just the focus on the placement of each foot step upon the steep grade in the glow of our headlamps seemed to matter. The best time marker was seeing the sun on the horizon and with it the summit came into view. I knew then there was enough gas in the tank to reach the top and get safely back down. I also then realized just how massive and steep the upper portions of Mt Rainier are. We continued climbing through the early morning hours, stepping over several crevasses, clipping into anchored ropes in the steepest sections and finally, after six and a half hours of climbing, at 7am, Monday, June 23rd, we were standing on the summit of Mt Rainier! The summit is amazing! One can immediately identify that Mt Rainier is in fact a volcano. The crater is unmistakable. Part of our crew elected to take a rest break near the crater rim while the rest rambled across the crater and up to the official summit, Columbia Crest (14,410 ft.).
We spent about 40 mins on the summit in total and then had to start moving down before the day heated up and the snow pack softened. The way down was much more difficult. Each step seemed to need more care and control or, maybe now that we could see our surroundings better, we stepped more carefully, fully understanding now the consequences of falling. We made it though! At noon we were back down at Camp Muir. We had one hour to eat, pack up our remaining gear (sleeping bag, etc.) and rest before starting the final leg back down to Paradise. We reached the parking lot without issue around 4pm. Our mountain experience was over, safely. The shuttle ride back to Ashford was similarly quite, now not due to nerves, just exhaustion.
Sunday 6pm: Bunked out
Sunday 11:30pm: Wakeup call
Monday 12:30am: Climb starts at Camp Muir (10,300 ft.)
Monday 7:00am: Summit reached (14,410 ft.)
Monday 12:00pm: Back at Camp Muir (10,300 ft.)
Monday 4pm: Back at Paradise (5400 ft.)
I trained for Denali to climb Rainier, that was the original plan anyway. I’d say I reached about 65% of that goal so felt I could have trained better. Training consisted of 5-6 days per week: Cardio (T-mill @ 15% grade, biking or swimming), 30-40 mins of Weights after Cardio, At work climbing 9 flights of stairs with 40 lb. pack 3 times per day, Cutting the lawn with 40 lb. pack and monthly backpacking trips in winter with 40 lb. pack and snowshoes.
Enter for a chance to Camp like a Champ with two (2) Tubbs Snowshoes camp chairs, and a 2-Burner HYPERFLAME Stove from Coleman!
How to enter?
- Simply use the contest widget below to share your best camping tips
- Extra entries can be earned for following Tubbs Snowshoes on Facebook and Twitter
Ever since I moved to Colorado and heard about the Great Sands Dunes National Park and Preserve, I’ve wanted to go there and see this marvel for myself. The thought of all that sand in the middle of Colorado intrigued me to no end. Several months ago, we decided time was awastin’ and we put our reservations in for the campgrounds for three days in June. Then finally, this past Father’s Day weekend, my husband, John, and I, our son, Shawn, daughter-in-law, Julia, and granddaughter, Jillian, and Dexter the dog, packed up our gear – including snowshoes – and headed west! Snowshoes? Sand dunes? What?
Yes, we packed our snowshoes with the intent to extend our snowshoeing season and try out SANDSHOEING! Fun!
As we approached the Sand Dunes from the west (we had to circle around the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to get there from Cañon City, our home), I was not initially very impressed. Sure, there was a mound of sand where there probably shouldn’t be – sand belongs at the ocean to the mind of this native Jersey girl – but the dunes didn’t look all that big. Initially.
Once we had our tents set up, gear stowed where it needed to be, food safely stashed in the provided bear boxes (yes, bears live there), and dinner consumed, we took a reconnaissance hike to see what we were getting into for the next day’s planned trek. That’s when my initial nonchalance about the Sand Dunes was blown away. “Blown away” was also a literal thing that weekend as the wind was strong and almost relentless! These things are HUGE!
Anyway, by the time we reached the edge of the Medano Creek and stood at the foot of the Sand Dunes, I was in total awe. The dunes were hugely high, massively long and ridiculously steep! As we gawked in wonder and the sunset cast shadows in the sandy ripples, I could not wait until the morning’s fun to begin.
We had a particular spot in mind for our adventure, so headed up the Medano Pass Primitive Road early. This alone was an experience as it requires a high-clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle and you actually have to let some air out of the vehicle’s tires to navigate the soft sand and creek crossings. Once we parked the car, Jillian with some whoops and hollers ran down the hill and across the Medano Creek to stand at the base of the dunes. From our vantage point at the car, she looked like an ant at the base of a very, very tall anthill. We adults unpacked our gear for the day from the car and followed her as quickly as we could.
Once we caught up with Jillian who immediately started to scramble up and slide down the ever shifting sand, Shawn and I decided to try out our snow/sand shoes. Since I had my Tubbs, it took me next to no time to be locked in and ready to go. Shawn was trying John’s Tubbs’ for the first time and thanks to the easy strapping system was right behind me.
My first few steps onto the dunes had me grinning. “Oh yeah! This was going to be fun!” However after just those first few steps, that optimism changed to: “Uh-oh, this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought it would be.”
At home, I had reasoned that the larger footprint of my snowshoes would help me to “float” above the sands better. Once on site at the Sand Dunes, I found that floatation was not going to be the problem while attempting to climb the dune. The Sand Dunes are, for the most part, very steep with about a 60 degree angle AND that angle is not a solid surface but a constantly downward-moving slippery surface. Unlike on snow/ice, there is no purchase to be gained with even the aggressive crampon-teeth of the Tubbs Snowshoes. And, thanks to the shifting sands, the snowshoes even while standing still, quickly got covered with sand and became ridiculously heavy and almost impossible to lift up for any forward motion.
Less than 20 feet up the 500+ feet dune, I was exhausted, on my knees and defeated. There went my summit bid! Turning around and going back down brought its own set of challenges. I had to try and extract one snowshoe at a time from under 3-4 inches of sand that had been buried by the still shifting sands, turn it to point downhill and then do the same for the other snowshoe without getting twisted into a human pretzel. I’ve had the same experiences in snow, but, let me tell you, sand is way heavier! The upside to sand vs. snow, is sitting in the sand while trying to extricate myself is a lot warmer than sitting in wet snow! The downhill “slide” did go easily as the snowshoes acted almost like skis with the traction being negligible.
John, Julia and Jillian having watched Shawn’s and my struggles, never even bothered to put on their snowshoes and just resorted to crawling up the dunes on their hands and knees, towing plastic sleds and careening down the dunes until they unceremoniously bale out before hitting the Medano Creek. Shawn and I joined them and had a blast the rest of the afternoon doing the same.
Dang! After all this time, anticipation and preparation, was I not going to sandshoe?
If I am nothing else, I am stubborn (ask my husband!). So, the next night when we decided to go on a night hike on the dunes, I was the only one who carried my snowshoes with me in the faint hope I might have better luck at another location.
This trek was up a much less steep section of the dunes down closer to the valley floor. It was still too steep and unstable for climbing in the snowshoes but we did get up high enough to reach a small plateau. That’s where I unstrapped my snowshoes from my backpack and quickly put them on my feet. I love how easy these Tubbs are to slip on!
I’d love to tell you how I powered past the rest of my family while gliding around gracefully on the sands, but alas, that was not the case for me.
I was fine walking slowly and carefully and did stay above the sand for a while but, unlike when in the snow, if I so much as bumped the tip of the snowshoes into a ridge, I would stumble and fall in a very unladylike and ungraceful way. The sand ridges are unyielding and as it was dark and I’m very visually-challenged in the dark, I bumped into, probably, every other ridge of sand! Thankfully, it was dark enough that no one saw every one of my falls, though they certainly heard them and were tactful enough to not razz me about my attempts to sandshoe.
Double Dang! I had to admit defeat ON THIS TRIP! I definitely plan to try again, on another day and on another part of the Great Sand Dunes. I know that others have tried sandshoeing and reported success and would be anxious to hear how and where they sandshoed. Advice, anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Keeping your energy up during long treks is important for your health and performance. Trail mix is a popular way to munch your way up the hill, and make it back down. Packed with a nice balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, trail mix is also extremely versatile and can fit your personal taste!
Below you’ll find three trail mix recipes that we love. Be it sweet, savory, or for those following a Paleo diet, you’re sure to enjoy one of them!
- MIX ALL INGREDIENTS
- PREHEAT OVEN TO 360º
- MIX ALL INGREDIENTS
- BAKE 5 MINUTES
- PREHEAT OVEN TO 360º
- MIX ALL INGREDIENTS
- BAKE 5 MINUTES
The snow may not be lining our favorite trails anymore, but that doesn’t stop us from adventuring outside! From alpine lakes to red, rocky canyons, we love to get on a new trail and enjoy what nature has to offer. Take a look at 10 of the best hikes in the United States:
Maroon Bells, Snowmass Wilderness, Aspen, CO
Trail Info Here
Vernal Fall, Yosemite National Park, CA
Trail Info Here
Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park, MT
Trail Info Here
Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah National Park, VA
Trail Info Here
Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park, ME
Trail Info Here
Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, WA
Trail Info Here
Long Trail, Jay Peak Long Trail North, VT
Trail Info Here
Eagle Mountain, Boundary Waters, MN
Trail Info Here
Corona Arch, Moab, UT
Trail Info Here
Olomana Trail, Oahu, HI
Trail Info Here