First Overnight Snow Trip...Finally

Miya

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Dec 31, 2017
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I have been wanting to attempt an overnight snow trip since my first backpacking trip 3 years ago. That was basically a fun disaster, and @Bobbiesworld626 and I were frightened we would die from the cold. Of course, this only made me want to do it again, but safely. Nearly every large gear purchase I have made over the last two years has been with the goal to camp in the snow.

On February 7-9, we ventured to Lassen NP to endure (Bobbie) / enjoy (Miya) the snow. Lassen was the perfect location, because you could camp above snow right next to the parking lot. This allowed Anthony and Bobbie to bring as many blankets as they wanted and stay comfortable, while I tested out my gear.

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Snowshoed to Sulphur Works. Snow definitely doesn't stick there...

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Played in the Visitor Center.

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Camp.

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We got a lot of good light, just barely any clouds the whole weekend. :(

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Seeing snow never fails to amaze me. It just makes everything fantastical!

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The next day we made an attempt to reach Forest Lake. The ranger assured us that it was easy to navigate and not too steep. We ended up somewhere else...and a nice man confirmed 'Wow you guys got WAY lost' haha. Luckily, he recommended a stop just up a hill from us so we could see a pretty view before we headed back to camp.

Enjoyed my Mountain Dew Zero Sugar when we made it to the top. :)

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I fell...

First butt glissade! Yay! A lot less scary than trying to Snowshoe down steep slopes haha.

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By the end of the day, Bobbie and I had no fear...well she had no fear to begin with.

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The first night was only supposed to drop to 22 degrees, the second was supposed to be 17. Surprisingly, some record winds decided to show up, so I don't know what the wind chill was, but it felt MUCH colder than the night before. I need to find a gadget that tracks temperature. I always want to know how cold the night got haha. Despite waking up with a frozen balaclava around my face and ice around the opening of my sleeping bag, I lived! I wouldn't say I was COMFORTABLE all night, but I have definitely had worse nights while camping. So...this trip was a success and I cannot wait to tackle more snow!!
 

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Wanderlust073

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Nice! You can zig zag down (or up) slopes too steep for your traction to reduce the angle and effort some. Not that glissading isn’t 10x more fun anyway :lol:
 

Miya

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Good tip!I feel like Bobbie and Anthony were doing that.
For some reason I am VERY scared walking sideways, I think I prefer going straight down. I was pretty anxious for a lot of the hike. I probably just need more exposure/practice.
But the glissading made life so much easier! Haha
 

Titans

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Very nice @Miya , congratulations. Did you do any star gazing? What did you cook at night? (or did Bobbie force you into a toasty warm restaurant?)
We have just the right navigation app for you.... Gaia GPS ;). You will love it!
 

Miya

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@Titans - No, no star gazing haha. It was a priority for me to get into my tent before it got dark or too cold lol
I ran around in the parking lot and then jumped into my bag.
We ate...ramen and some Alfredo pasta.
Is Gaia the thing on my Garmin or is it a separate app?
 
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Titans

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@Titans - No, no star gazing haha. It was a priority for me to get into my tent before it got dark or too cold lol
I ran around in the parking lot and then jumped into my bag.
We ate...ramen and some Alfredo pasta.
Is Gaia the thing on my Garmin or is it a separate app?
Yah, it helps running around, we even went for a quick walk some evenings.
By the way since you were all car camping (I think).... this little Buddy Heater works great, if you can't make a fire. You have to be out of the wind.

Gaia GPS is a separate app on your phone. https://www.gaiagps.com
With a premium membership you have access to all National Geographic maps, Nat park maps, US topo maps, satellite maps, snow depth maps, etc.

The app has a small orange location arrow which shows where you are exactly (since I'm not in Lassen NP right now, it's not on the maps below :))
You can follow an established (snow covered) trail, create your own routes, import GPS tracks (hikes / drives) from other websites, hike & navigate off trail, record your own hike/track etc. You would need to download the maps you like before heading out of cell service.

So for "Forest Lake", Lassen NP, this is the Nat Geographic map view in Gaia. The orange arrow would show your exact location on the map, so you know, if you are headed in the right direction towards the lake.
IMG_7570.PNG


Here is the National Park overlay map (again, the orange arrow would be the magical piece) :
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Gaia Topo map view
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US Topo map view:
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Snow depth view, pretty cool, you might like that to plan new snow trips!
IMG_7574.PNG
 

regehr

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Good tip!I feel like Bobbie and Anthony were doing that.
For some reason I am VERY scared walking sideways, I think I prefer going straight down. I was pretty anxious for a lot of the hike. I probably just need more exposure/practice.
But the glissading made life so much easier! Haha
I love steep snow and while I agree that zig-zagging can make it easier to ascend, the usual descent mode is "plunge stepping" straight down. The idea is to take large, courageous steps and drop your heel into the snow on each step. This works better with stiff boots. It's a lot of fun and very fast, once you get used to it.

If it's too steep for plunge stepping, then you face the slope and back down. This doesn't really work unless you have an ice axe.
 

Miya

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Thanks @regehr, I will have to try that. I think I tend to take baby steps and put my toes down first. I also bend at the knees EXTREMELY, because I am prepared to fall and want to be close to the ground when I do haha. I probably look very awkward.
 

Miya

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Oh haha, thanks @Titans. I see what happened now. We completely started at the wrong TH. The ranger was like 'Oh, it is just 50 feet from the ranger station', but I can see now that wasn't quite accurate.

I actually have a little Buddy heater that my dad got me for Christmas. I offered to let Bobbie use it for this trip, but she did not want to and I was very determined to rough it. I wanted to ensure that I would be warm when backpacking in the snow, and that little buddy is soooo heavy. I definitely wouldn't pack that monster in my pack.
 

scatman

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Congrats @Miya and @Bobbiesworld626! Your report brought a smile to my face while reading it. Hopefully you shared your well earned zero sugar dew with the aliens (at least I think they are aliens - ghosts maybe?). :)
 

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Miya

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Congrats @Miya and @Bobbiesworld626! Your report brought a smile to my face while reading it. Hopefully you shared your well earned zero sugar dew with the aliens (at least I think they are aliens - ghosts maybe?). :)
Yay for smiles!

They are Kodama! In Japanese mythology, they are basically little tree spirits. So I like to bring them with me hiking, they like to go outside haha. These particular figures are from Princess Mononoke (another Studio Ghibli film, same company that made My Neighbor Totoro).
 

Stephanie B

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Yah, it helps running around, we even went for a quick walk some evenings.
By the way since you were all car camping (I think).... this little Buddy Heater works great, if you can't make a fire. You have to be out of the wind.

Gaia GPS is a separate app on your phone. https://www.gaiagps.com
With a premium membership you have access to all National Geographic maps, Nat park maps, US topo maps, satellite maps, snow depth maps, etc.

The app has a small orange location arrow which shows where you are exactly (since I'm not in Lassen NP right now, it's not on the maps below :))
You can follow an established (snow covered) trail, create your own routes, import GPS tracks (hikes / drives) from other websites, hike & navigate off trail, record your own hike/track etc. You would need to download the maps you like before heading out of cell service.

So for "Forest Lake", Lassen NP, this is the Nat Geographic map view in Gaia. The orange arrow would show your exact location on the map, so you know, if you are headed in the right direction towards the lake.
View attachment 86845

Here is the National Park overlay map (again, the orange arrow would be the magical piece) :
View attachment 86843

Gaia Topo map view
View attachment 86844

US Topo map view:
View attachment 86842

Snow depth view, pretty cool, you might like that to plan new snow trips!
View attachment 86841
Totally agree regarding Gaia. Well worth the premium membership.
 

Ugly

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I love steep snow and while I agree that zig-zagging can make it easier to ascend, the usual descent mode is "plunge stepping" straight down. The idea is to take large, courageous steps and drop your heel into the snow on each step. This works better with stiff boots. It's a lot of fun and very fast, once you get used to it.

If it's too steep for plunge stepping, then you face the slope and back down. This doesn't really work unless you have an ice axe.
Exactly this, just bend your knees, and lean a little forward, and don't put all your weight too far back on the tails of your shoes, or you will have you feet slide out from under you. The downhill is incredibly fun.

Snow and cold weather camping is its own kind of slight to miserable joy... I love it!

Glad you posted some great pics to go with it.
 

Miya

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Snow and cold weather camping is its own kind of slight to miserable joy... I love it!
Yeah, I was not surprised how much I loved it. I really like to endure hardships or feel challenged. Snow really tests my willpower and makes me feel good when I make it through haha

Plus, it is just so beautiful!
 

Reef&Ruins

Colorado Plateau is calling...
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Lassen is awesome. Was there last June and there was still a TON of snow at elevation.
 

Reef&Ruins

Colorado Plateau is calling...
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Yeah, I really enjoy the diversity there. Did you go to Cinder Cones? I still haven't been, but REALLY want to.
No there was so much snow every where that other than the visitor centers we didn't stop anywhere.
 

Wanderlust073

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Grats!
 

Titans

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Guess who just won a year premium subscription to Gaia GPS

I did!!! :lol:

Haha so funny and feel pretty darn lucky.
Awesome @Miya - congratulations. It was meant to be.
Hiking will be easier now. I will be happy to help, if you have questions, just send a PM.
 

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