For Christmas 2006, Santa Claus brought us snowshoes!
The whole idea came about when John started talking about snow-camping. Although he knew that I would never go for the idea myself, he was still intrigued by it. In order to snow-camp, though, he would need snowshoes to enable him to hike through the deep snow. (He had learned that lesson the hard way when, only last year, he had tried to do a solo backpack in See Canyon through several feet of snow. It wasn't fun.)
True, I am not intrigued by the idea of snow-camping; after all, I just don't do well in freezing temperatures, even with a -5 degree sleeping bag. However, I did like the idea of learning to snowshoe, so I agreed that we should get snowshoes for Christmas.
So, there they were on Christmas morning, sitting under the Christmas tree. And, a couple of weeks later, we would finally have a chance to use them.
Flagstaff received a few inches of snow right after the holidays. It wasn't much snow, but it was enough for us to make a snow play day during the first weekend of the new year. So, equipped with our sled and our new snowshoes, John and Mary and I drove north to Flagstaff, to play in the Wing Mountain Snow Play Area.
Over the past six years, we have spent many snow play days at Wing Mountain, and we have watched it grow from a small winter spot to a popular destination for people looking for a day of sledding and snowball fights. Its popularity had grown so much that, this year, it had become a fee area. I guess it was only a matter of time!
After paying the entry fee, we parked the 4Runner in the large parking lot and got out. John pulled out our snowshoes and helped us strap them onto our hiking boots; since this was our first time wearing them, we had to do a little adjusting. Once we all had our snowshoes on, we took our first steps in them...
...And it was good!
I was surprised to find out how much I enjoyed snowshoeing...and how much Mary enjoyed it as well. In fact, although they appeared to be awkward, they made walking through the snow so much easier. That is due to the metal claws on the underside of the shoes; those claws gave us better traction when walking up and down snow-covered hills.
We walked all around the snow play area, giving those snowshoes a good test run. We walked through meadows, up and down hills, stopping only long enough to throw snowballs at each other. When we finally arrived back at the 4Runner, a half an hour later, John couldn't get Mary and me to take our snowshoes off!
It took a while, but John convinced Mary to remove her snowshoes long enough to go sledding. At first, she didn't want to do it; almost two years had passed since she had last been sledding by herself, so she had forgotten how much she enjoyed it. She just needed a little prodding...
...Of course, it didn't help that, on her first run with John, they went smashing into a tree! John wasn't injured, and except for a large bruise on her leg, Mary was fine, too; but it took a whole lot more convincing to get Mary back into that sled again.
After several runs without incident, Mary finally went sledding down the hill by herself. I waited at the bottom with the new video camera to record the moment. (That was my other nice gift from Santa Claus: a Sony 30GB video camera!) With that new camera, I captured a perfect sledding video!
Before we knew it, it was after 12:00 p.m., and we were starving! It had been a fun morning, and we had worked up quite an appetite snowshoeing. With that, we loaded our equipment back into the 4Runner and left Wing Mountain.
On our way out of town, we stopped at the Quizno's in Flagstaff and grabbed some lunch to eat on the road. Then, we started south on I-17, towards Phoenix. Not long after finishing her lunch, Mary fell fast asleep in the backseat, completely exhausted from her exciting morning.
And so ended our newest adventure: one that we would certainly do again soon!
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