Never forgetting your first

-Kathy W.

Day Hiking Ambassador

They say “you never forget your first”.

‘Way back in 2002, my husband and I purchased our first snowshoes in anticipation of a Christmas vacation and visit with our son in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

At the time, I wasn’t exactly a “snow bunny”, in fact, I did everything I could to avoid winter, snow and freezing temperatures.  Since downhill skiing was out of the question – I may not like all my body parts, but I do like my body parts where they are – despite having never tried snowshoeing before, it certainly promised to be a safer winter vacation sport!  Being on the downhill side of “over the hill”, “safer” is a good thing!

When our big snowshoe debut arrived, with great anticipation, my husband and I boarded the Strawberry Park gondola in Beaver Creek for our first foray into a winter wonderland of high-altitude snow.  We, no doubt, looked the part of rookie tourists with all our very shiny new equipment, but didn’t care.  The distant alpine views were amazing, the landscape pure and blindingly white, the air crisp and clean-smelling of pine.  Under an impossibly blue, cloudless sky, we set forth ready to conquer the mountains!

I wish I could brag how we were as graceful and athletic as mountain goats or even the moose but we weren’t.   Or how we explored miles and miles of pristine backcountry trails but we didn’t.

As out-of-shape flatlander newbies (Michiganders), trying to master 21 x 8 inch metal contraptions strapped to our feet at  an altitude of almost 10,000 feet, in snow drifts up to 24 inches deep – well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

When we weren’t tripping on our own (and each other’s) over-sized feet, we were hunched over our trekking poles, gasping for breath, sweating with exertion!  This was especially true, during that frantic last hour’s awkward painful push uphill to catch the last downslope gondola of the day.  (We only did because our son convinced the lift operator to wait “just a few more minutes!”)

That evening, with our very first snowshoe trek under our belts, my husband and I sat nursing Peppermint Pattys while gazing up at the darkening slopes.  In unison, we both confessed our newly-discovered “crush”.  We wanted – no – NEEDED to snowshoe again.   A lot!

Four years later, we moved to Colorado. Now, I relish winter’s snows and John and I snowshoe – A LOT!