Photo credit: americanhiking.org
June 3, 2017 marks the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day. You might be asking, why does a snowshoe company care about a trails celebration when there’s no snow?
Well, we’re so glad you asked! It’s because we’re not just here to talk snowshoeing, we’re here to encourage everyone to get outside and explore the wonderful places that surround us. The outdoor community is, let’s face it, an awesome one. But, there are people who just don’t have the resources to get out and explore. We want to encourage newbies and experienced explorers to get out as much as possible, get healthy, involve your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Snowshoeing is a great way to stay active in the winter, and is friendly to all ages and athletic levels, but there’s so much to do once the snow melts.
We asked our Tubbs ambassadors to share their favorite trails and tips.
From John, our Family Hiking Ambassador:
In Spring 2015 I did two trips around Naches Peak on the eastern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park. Although the two trips were only about two months apart, the difference was amazing.
In April, my son and I enjoyed some of the most wonderful snow the Northwest’s second snowshoe season had to offer. Deep powder, blue skies, and epic views. It was one of the best snowshoe trips we’ve ever had.
In June, I took my son, daughter, and two friends back to Naches Peak. The snow was gone, replaced by fields and fields of flowers. Even though we were breaking trail through the snow we were remarkably close to the actual trail. Instead of the simplicity of smooth snow we were treated to a chaotic display of riotous color. The flowers had bloomed while we were gone and it was wonderful.
Which is better? I can’t decide. I love the snow, but the flowers in bloom were vibrant in life. Good thing I don’t have to decide. I just have to wait a few months.
Looking for more Family Hiking stories? Check out this Midwest favorite from Kovas:
Our favorite trail here in the Midwest is the Ice Age National Scenic trail. At almost 1,200 miles in length, it offers huge variety in terms of trail experience, accessibility, and options. From semi-urban sections to areas where you won’t meet another person, from hilly to flat and everything in between, the Ice Age combines an opportunity to stretch your legs, learn some local history, and see geology in action, as the trail amply demonstrates the last Ice Age’s effects on Wisconsin’s landmass. With options for camping from large campgrounds to backcountry shelters, the Ice Age is not just for dayhiking.
National Trails Day is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Find a section that is hosting an event that day. You’ll meet the volunteers who have helped build the trail, keep it clean and inviting, and know the stories that can be learned in that area. Make time to join in on one of the day’s options to hike that section, usually including one that’s perfect for younger children. Volunteers and general trail support comes from the Ice Age Trail Alliance, which prints maps and guidebooks, and offers information on their website (http://www.iceagetrail.org/).
What about a backcountry adventure? Hear from Lyndon:
With National Trails Day coming up this month, I’ve been thinking about my favorite trail and how much it has changed my life. Prior to hiking Mt. Whitney in 2011, I did not consider myself a hiker. Earlier that summer, a friend had spent several months trying to convince me that I should hike Whitney with him. I was resistant, having given up hiking and running a few years prior due to horrible foot and ankle pain. At one point, I even had a podiatrist tell me that I should look for a different job, since my job occasionally required that I walk up to three or four miles per day.
My friend was persistent and I eventually began researching Mt. Whitney … the highest peak in the lower 48 … 8,000 feet of elevation gain covering 22 miles … 20,000 permits issued each year through a tedious lottery process … less than 1/3 of permit holders reaching the summit, with many suffering from the effects of altitude sickness. It sounded like a horrible way to spend 15 hours or more, but exactly like something I needed to do! Nearing my mid-30s, I needed and wanted something to whip my butt into shape. Training for Mt. Whitney, regardless of whether or not I reached the summit would be perfect for this task.
After 3 months of intense training, we headed to the Eastern Sierra. Up until that point, I had fully intended to give up hiking again as soon as we returned from our trip. As I neared the summit of Mt. Whitney this all changed; the view created a sense of awe and wonder that I had not felt in years and I was nearly moved to tears. Despite the pain, exhaustion and knowledge that my hike was not even half over, I knew that I’d come back … that I had too be here again.
With the hiking that followed in years after this day came creation of HikingGeek.com to document my adventures and share my photos with others, with the success of HikingGeek came ambassadorships with some great companies (including Tubbs!), with the networking and the skills resulting from these ambassadorships came an eventual career change; I find it hard to believe I would have ended up where I am if it had not been for that hike back in 2011.
While it is much tougher to make it out to the Sierra and Mt. Whitney now that I live nearly 3,000 miles away, I often find my mind wandering there … thinking about the views, the bonds formed and the things learned.
Feeling inspired? Check out the American Hiking Society’s website to see how you can get involved in National Trails Day.
Getting out on your own? That’s okay too! Share your photos and stories with us @tubbssnowshoes to keep the inspiration rolling!