Tubbs Guest Post From Jess Curren of Currently Wandering
I looked up eagerly as we made the turn off Idaho Highway 20 into Harriman State Park. The afternoon sun shone brightly off the 3 feet of snow flanking either side of the road, the weather was crisp and clear, and there was plenty of snow for our activity of choice: we were going to snowshoe.
After checking in at the Visitor Center, we made our way through the park to Cygnet yurt. I had always wanted to yurt camp so this was a win-win situation. Enough snow to play in, plus we got to have an entirely new experience as a family. Our three kids, ages 12, 10 & 7 helped us haul our gear inside, while my husband, Sam, started the wood stove to warm things up. The weather was forecasted at -15 degrees Fahrenheit for that night so we knew we’d need all the heat we could get!
Once the fire was going and the bunks claimed, we strapped our boots back on and headed out to snowshoe. Our kids had never been before, so they weren’t entirely sure what to expect. They are good hikers, but tromping through snow is the next level of difficult so we planned an easy 2 mile loop on some of the many trails in the park. We pulled our snowshoes out of the truck and helped our two oldest into their Flex Hikes while the youngest strapped into Flex Jr.’s. Both types looked great, fit well, and once Sam and I got ours on we were off!
The snowshoe trails in the park follow the cross country trails and we were careful to stay to the side. I loved that we could get out among the trees, and the snow gave everything a beautiful winter blanket. Just like hiking, our kids needed more than just tromping along a trail. We often say they get bored before they get tired and snowshoeing was no exception. To keep them moving, we looked for animal tracks in the snow, sang songs, ate snacks, and played in the snow! They thought it was hilarious to fall over in piles of powder, make snow angels, or stick our poles down below us to see how deep the snow really was.
After an hour or so, we rounded a bend and the landscape opened up with an amazing view of the Henry’s Fork River and at least a hundred Trumpeter Swans! They migrate from Canada and make their home in the Idaho for the winter. We were amazed with how many birds were floating in the near- freezing water and stood on the river bank for at least 20 minutes just watching them. As we stood there, the sun slowly sank below the horizon and the sky turned the color of pink cotton candy.
From here we made our way more quickly back to the yurt, as it was getting dark and everyone was ready for dinner. Our home for the evening was warm, we ate a hot dinner, and then, exhausted, snuggled into our sleeping bags.
As we lay there reading our books and drifting off to sleep our youngest said, “Mom, I like it when we are all together. Can we do this again?” Yes, my sweet child. We can definitely do this again.