Monday, December 24, 2012

Adventure 49: Cumberland Snowshoeing

Trail Head
The Comox Valley and in particular, Cumberland, was inundated with an intense winter weather front that came on Sunday night and dropped eight inches of snow. We were given a break on Tuesday, but that night it began again, with strong, gusting winds and more snow, that closed schools in Cumberland and cut our power. Another six inches of snow fell before it stopped, the skies cleared and made lots of ice. The roads were suspect and a little treacherous. Saturday morning welcomed yet again more snow, and it was falling all day. Dinner plate sized flakes dropping adding yet more depth to the already impressive Cumberland snow pack. I was actually not that upset with the snow this year, having a truck with four wheel drive and brand new, snow-rated tires, gave me confidence to travel around. Natalie was loving it of course, as any kid would.
Goofy face. Hope it doesn't stay like that!
For years it has been my wish to snowshoe from my front door and walk in the woods behind Cumberland. Even before I had shoes, this was a dream. After spending so many hours hiking around the deep snow over the holiday season on the trails, using shoes was my fantasy. Natalie and I were fortunate to both receive them as Christmas gifts last year, so now this dream could become reality.
Took this one behind my back
We had a busy weekend of socializing and eating at three different holiday parties. Santa came to our annual Christmas party at the Logan's. This event has been going on for eight years, and it is neat to see how the kids are growing, and new ones are arriving all the time. After that gathering, Natalie and I ventured out in the snow to drive south to Qualicum for a dinner party at our friends place. There was potential to have a large gathering, but with the weather being what it was, many were not prepared to make the trip. It was a very good time, great food and company, and I got to bring home an absolute windfall of food. As we drove home an idea for an adventure came to mind. Lets do this snowshoe trip! We got a late start since Natalie spent all day cleaning her room, and I was busy canning turkey meat and doing other kitchen stuff(weird huh!) I was stoked.
Happy beast!
The road was plowed so we did not put on our shoes, electing to walk in our boots instead. Approaching the swamp crossing, I forgot how much of a mess the beavers have made at the crossing. The dam that was built recently has flooded the trail on either side of the bridge. Natalie and I both got soaked feet as we tried to negotiate the flowing water and trees. We almost called it quits, but she decided to give it a whirl and see if her feet wouldn't be too cold. We strapped up and carried on. Marshall was with us, and he was being insane. He was deer bounding around the snow, chasing anything and everything we threw in the woods, hound baying at me to toss more objects. He was just a little obnoxiously loud if someone was hiking for peace and quiet. However, Natalie and I had lots of fun watching him recklessly leaping about.
Concentrate Daddy
We found ourselves on a trail called Tied Knot. This trail is full of mountain biking stunts, including skinny logs, ramps, bridges and gap jumps. Tied Knot twists through the Cumberland Community Forest, a beautiful, community owned chunk of woods. Over the years, Natalie and I have spent many, many hours wandering these woods looking for mushrooms, geo-caching and biking. Tied Knot was really awesome. Walking with snowshoes on the stunts was very challenging, balancing and trying to maintain traction on slippery logs invigorating. Not as adrenalin filled as two wheels, just slower and more methodical. One has to be careful not to step accidentally on the rear shoe and trip. Falling would hurt regardless of transportation method. Natalie did really good trying the traverses. She attempted everything I did, needing just a few helping hands. I was impressed how she walked so far with soaking wet feet. It really began to bother her the last little bit, but goes to show how merino wool can help out. With cotton socks she would have been ruined.
You can do it!
I plan on doing another snowshoe tomorrow for my annual Christmas Day hike. It was wonderful for Natalie, Marshall and I to enjoy this excursion so much. We have a week to finish up and undertake three more of these adventures. Wish us luck!
Always a mushroom shot. Turkey Tails

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