Lyndon, Backcountry Ambassador
Looking back to the 2015-16 snowshoeing season, it could be easy for me to feel discouraged. When I sat down to write this entry, I intended to write about my disappointment, but the more I thought about what I’ve done over the last few months, the less and less disappointed I became.
Over the last year I amassed enough gear to outfit 1-2 other snowshoers, and became close with a number of individuals who were very interested in going snowshoeing for the first time. With the predicted El Nino, many of us anticipated that there would be plenty of snow. I figured I’d be out every other weekend at a minimum, but those plans never came to fruition. I headed north for an early trip in November, but December and January came and went without much happening in the SoCal mountains. One major storm did bring significant snowfall locally, but it arrived around the due date of my second son. With me nearly missing the birth of my first son, I didn’t want to take the chance of being in the mountains somewhere when my wife went into labor. February arrived and brought with it unseasonably warm temperatures, turning many of the peaks in the area into an icy, extremely dangerous mess. It’s mid-March already, I’ve been out with my snowshoes a total of 3 weekends. Last year was a very dry year, but I still managed to see more snow.
What I realized, however, thinking about these three weekends, was that they were quality trips. Better quality than last year’s and, if I really I look at it from the standpoint of being a backcountry ambassador, it was my best year of snowshoeing:
- A friend and I snowshoed for the first time in the Sierra, enjoying some of the best snowshoeing either of us have ever experienced.
- I introduced 3 friends to snowshoeing and 5 friends to backcountry travel.
- 1 friend experienced her first snowstorm and another had never seen snow except for the man-made snow she saw the time she went snowboarding.
- 2 friends got their first winter summits (2 peaks in one day), including a 10,000 footer.
While thinking about my winter in these terms, it’s hard to not see the 2015-2016 as a successful season. I’ve come to realize that what I like most about hiking and snowshoeing is helping others: helping them learn new skills and experience new things, motivating them to push their limits and reach goals that are seemingly out of reach. While I may not have put as many miles on my snowshoes as I would have liked, the miles I did travel were quality ones, and the memories will last a lifetime.