A First Attempt at Snowshoeing - Now I am Hooked

Miya

Because I am able.
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https://evermoremoments.smugmug.com/Margaret-Lake/

One of my QC Techs invited himself to come with me, because he would be snowboarding in Tahoe the day before. We both purchased clearance snowshoes from Sierra Trading Post ($43), since neither of us had done this before, we didn’t want to make a big investment. Even though he was just as much a noob as me (maybe even more so) I welcomed the company, because I was pretty darn nervous! It looked difficult to me! I imagined myself falling and getting stuck, or being buried alive, any possible negative outcome, I imagined it.

The plan was to meet at the Margaret Lake TH on Sunday, 01.27.19 at 1000, in Kirkwood, CA.

I enjoyed a beautiful drive, just less than 2 hours.

‘Turn left’, my phone instructed.

Hum to myself happily and turn on my blinker. ‘Oh…that is a wall of snow that goes over my car.’ I turn off my blinker and keep going straight. I know there is a more popular parking lot just up the road, that is sure to be open!

'Oh…nope…okay, keep driving.' Eventually, I found a place where I could turn around and pulled into a Ski and Snowshoe rental parking lot, which ended up being very close to the TH. Now, I am just worried about flagging Mason down since I have no service. I just hang out next to the road and play with the snow, hoping not to get smooshed by a car. Luckily, Mason sees me and we set off on our adventure!

Mason, is super sore from snowboarding, hungover, and had told me before that he does not do cardio. Oh well, let’s give this a try. Haha

We climb up a 4ft snow wall and decide to put on the shoes right away.

Mason's shoes, I like how his strap better.

Margaret Lake-2.jpg


My shoes.

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Looking pretty, and yay! some snowshoe tracks to follow!

Margaret Lake.jpg


If I could skip in them, I would have! Walking in them was so much easier than I imagined, although absolutely more tiresome than regular hiking. I was so giddy to be in the snow, trying something new and seeing so much beauty! Mason is funny company too.

Just a peek of the TH board.

Margaret Lake-6.jpg


I don’t know if we made more than 200 feet from the parking lot before he had to lay down. LOL

Margaret Lake-7.jpg


Mason ended up falling 3 or 4 times during this trip. I cannot lie, it was hilarious. I did slip twice, both times going uphill. I end up falling forward on my knees, so nothing too hysterical.

It took us an hour and a half to do half a mile! Haha We came to this lovely, ankle deep stream that we were supposed to cross to get to Margaret Lake, but I knew Mason wouldn’t be able to make it the entire way and knew he wouldn’t want to get his shoes and socks wet. We laid out an emergency blanket to sit on and took a good long break.

Margaret Lake-18.jpg


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Me. And me waiting impatiently because Mason is taking a 100 pictures with my camera (actually more like 17). Haha

Margaret Lake-23.jpg


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Mason going up.

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Idk, just liked this contrast while I was walking.

Margaret Lake-30.jpg


We made it back to the car in about 20 minutes. Mason was shocked at the very short distance we had gone and how long it had taken us. Haha

Mason’s reward.
20190127_150138.jpg


Even though this hike didn’t really challenge me, nor give me much of a workout, I REALLY enjoyed myself. I was happy to have someone with me. I am happy to know I can do it and feel much more comfortable going back to do it again! Hopefully, I can go this weekend or next and get a little farther hehe. Yay! One thing off my 2019 To Do List! My first adventure in the snow was a wonderous one! Thank you to everyone that responded to my questions about hiking in the snow. It really helped me out and eased some worries (created new ones too haha).
 

swmalone

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Apr 27, 2016
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367
Glad to hear you enjoyed yourself. One of my favorite things about snowshoeing is how completely different an area you have hiked a hundred times can be when it is buried in a few feet of snow.
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Welcome to the club! Glad to see you had such a great time. Keep getting out there and backpacking will be a walk in the park when summer rolls around!
 

Titans

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Another new experience- glad you had fun! How warm was it, it looks toasty?
 

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
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1,383
Awesome!!

Argh I just spent way more than $43 on new snowshoes at REI last weekend, should have checked Sierra. My 20-year-old Tubbs have bindings that have basically never worked well and the new MSR ones are far better.
 

Deleted User

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Aug 5, 2016
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Awesome stuff! Winter is beautiful! Before I got a splitboard I was snowshoeing for my turns. Snowshoeing is a lot of fun. Just be careful in avalanche terrain. If you are going to travel in steep terrain you need to know about avalanches. Here is a shot of me on my MSR Lightning Ascents before I got a splitboard. Might I suggest if you have climbing bars on your snowshoes use them on the steeps and get some gaiters for your snow pants. You'll stay drier longer and make sure your footwear is waterproof. I'm obviously in snowboard boots so my pants have gaiters that interface with my boots. Happy Shoeing!

 
Last edited:

Miya

Because I am able.
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Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
1,231
Welcome to the club! Glad to see you had such a great time. Keep getting out there and backpacking will be a walk in the park when summer rolls around!

So true! Didn't think about that. I love when I am sore from a hike and yhat hasn't happened in a long time. I feel like snowshoeing can do that for me, just gotta get back out there and go further this time. Hah!

Another new experience- glad you had fun! How warm was it, it looks toasty?

Yeah! I am so nee to outdoors, I have lots of opportunities to experience new things! Oh yeah, it was super hot! I think it was around 60, give or take.

Awesome!!

Argh I just spent way more than $43 on new snowshoes at REI last weekend, should have checked Sierra. My 20-year-old Tubbs have bindings that have basically never worked well and the new MSR ones are far better.

Awww bummer! I figured if I liked doing this I would invest in better quality ones. I really ended up liking
my cheap shoes. I have nothing to compare them too though. Mine were Tubbs, and I am not a huge fan of the bindings either, but I will probably stick with them for awhile. Idk if STP has MSR, but you could check and make a return to REI :)
 

Miya

Because I am able.
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Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
1,231
Awesome stuff! Winter is beautiful! Before I got a splitboard I was snowshoeing for my turns. Snowshoeing is a lot of fun. Just be careful in avalanche terrain. If you are going to travel in steep terrain you need to know about avalanches. Here is a shot of me on my MSR Lightning Ascents before I got a splitboard. Might I suggest if you have climbing bars on your snowshoes use them on the steeps and get some gaiters for your snow pants. You'll stay drier longer and make sure your footwear is waterproof. I'm obviously in snowboard boots so my pants have gaiters that interface with my boots. Happy Shoeing!

Thanks for the tips!
Idk what climbing bars are haha, but I will look it up!
And yes, I want to be more knowledgeable about avalanches, so am going to do more research before my next trip!
LOVE your pants!! Haha
 

swmalone

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Apr 27, 2016
Messages
367
I have some 14 or so year old Atlas snowshoes that get the job done, but my wife and I each rented a pair of MSR Lightning Ascents. Those things are awesome. It was great to be able to use a shorter length if possible and then in the powder add the tails. Those climbing bars are amazing to reduce strain. The only downside is now my wife and I kind of hate our snowshoes, but can't quite justify the price of the MSRs without a sale or coupon.
 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
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Apr 20, 2013
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Distance does not matter... Glad you had a good time! (and a good meal after)

The effort is always more with the shoes on, but when you can glissade and slide step down a powdery hill, or look out on rolling piles of goodness among the trees, it is so worth it!
Go have some more good, safe times in the snow.

I have some 14 or so year old Atlas snowshoes that get the job done, but my wife and I each rented a pair of MSR Lightning Ascents. Those things are awesome. It was great to be able to use a shorter length if possible and then in the powder add the tails. Those climbing bars are amazing to reduce strain. The only downside is now my wife and I kind of hate our snowshoes, but can't quite justify the price of the MSRs without a sale or coupon.

The Lightnings are amazing. I envy the guy in my group that has them... plus he has a model that was orange. I keep saying my REI dividend will get me a pair the next year, but have always held off.
Instead, I have used my MSR Evos for four years, got them for $20 at a university outdoor center's sell off of rental equipment. Rugged as heck. But I wanted the climbing bar, and easier bindings...

If the Lightnings are a Mercedes, I just purchased a Kia version from Amazon last week. 3 trips in and about 12 miles total, 6+ miles last night, and they have pleasantly surprised me.
My only concerning weakness is how many trips and seasons the heel strap will last, as the clip portion is plastic. But for $70 instead of $200+ it fits my budget. Plus now a kid or someone can go with me in the old pair.
 

kwc

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Mar 31, 2016
Messages
509
I hope that MSR has fixed the problems that some eastern snowshoers have reported regarding the LIghtnings ... rivet failures and bent frames after moderate use.
 

swmalone

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Apr 27, 2016
Messages
367
I hope that MSR has fixed the problems that some eastern snowshoers have reported regarding the LIghtnings ... rivet failures and bent frames after moderate use.

I rented from REI and I noticed on the pair I rented that 3 of the 4 rivets on the front of the binding were either broken when I picked them up or broke on my trip. It seems a pretty simple replacement but since they were rentals I have no idea how much abuse they took prior to breaking.
 
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