Freezing New Year’s Day (Rose Canyon)

Posted: 1st January 2011 by Jonathan Wood in Snowshoeing
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With very cold temperatures and nearly a foot of new snow, I knew I’d need my snowshoes for today’s hike. The weather felt brutally cold when I got outside. However, pushing myself uphill in fresh powder definitely warmed me up!

You have to be careful when it gets this cold. You need to ensure you’re dressed warm enough. But you also have to guard against sweating too much. Intense exercise can generate a lot of heat. If you sweat a lot and your clothes become wet, then you are in danger of getting cold later when you’re not so active.

There were no human tracks at all where I went. (There were a few deer and rabbit tracks.) This made it hard work when climbing up. I really didn’t go very far today, but still got a good workout. I came back along the same ridge I went up. Since the ridge goes up and down, there was a bit of climbing in both directions.

The air was clear and the Sun was shining. It was actually a very beautiful day, even if it really wasn’t very hospitable. Looking at the photos I took, I can appreciate how beautiful it was. But I had some concerns at the time I was up there taking them.

For starters, this is the first time I saw the dog seem to struggle with the cold. There were several times where she’d present a paw to me. There appeared to be ice forming around her paws and was apparently causing her pain. Clearing the ice away seemed to help, but I remained a little concerned.

I kept myself pretty warm while climbing but cooled off considerably when the terrain leveled off or went downhill. At the furthest point of the hike, I sat in the snow to have a snack. But I soon became very cold and had to cut that short. My hands became very cold and I realized I had lost a glove. I jogged back along the ridge for a distance to try and generate some heat. And I eventually found my glove.

My glove had been in my pocket. I lost it while brushing against some scrub oak. The reason I was going through the scrub oak was because, at places where it became steep, I was concerned about avalanches. It seemed like pulling myself up through some small trees might prevent┬áthe snow sliding as freely as where it might where the slopes were clear. (I don’t know how true this is.)

I’ve found myself in some unsafe conditions in the past and avalanches are generally a concern for me when there’s a lot of new snow. Combined with the cold, I’ll probably start longing for Summertime before too long. For now, I just hope we break out of this cold spell pretty soon.

Really, as much as I prefer hiking in the Summer, it’s kind of amazing that I’m even able to hike at all on days like today. But I hope the pictures can convey how cool it looked up where I went. My concerns aside, I’m glad I was able to get out.

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