Alaska had unseasonably warm weather in January with temperatures in the mid 50’s for several weeks and raining making for icy conditions which are not ideal for the winter enthusiast. With the old snow gone and no new snow falling for what seemed forever, people became depressed, demoralized and moody. I am speaking for myself here but I did notice it in others too. The winter darkness seemed gloomy without the soft blanket of white that normally covers the ground.
Finally on Valentine ’s Day the smallest, faintest of white flakes started to fall from the sky. People everywhere were giddy with excitement! I am talking about me here, but I assure you it wasn’t just me. Facebook and twitter lit up with tales of snow falling like it were a gift from above. That day and for several days that followed we received a light dusting, perhaps only an inch or even less in most places. It was enough to change everything. Moods changed, optimism returned and there was hope!
Then it snowed in earnest, I woke up to 5 or 6 inches and knew what I had to do. I packed up our snowshoes, dogs, snacks, water and gear and we headed for the mountains. My youngest daughter at 6 was so excited to get out on her purple Tubbs snowshoes she took off running up the trail, not waiting for the rest of us. Starting at the prospect peak trailhead in the Chugach Mountain range we made our way down the trail stopping to note the trees, animal tracks and beauty around us….all covered in white again. After a couple hours it was time to turn around and head back, though no one really wanted to. If only we had all day. As we made our way back we passed several other people who were also out snowshoeing, trekking with their dogs and enjoying the snow. I noticed that we all had something in common – a smile on our face! The snow, the mountains, it was just what we needed.