Something new

I’ve been rock climbing for just over 10 years now. I’ve dabbled a little in mountaineering, but I mostly enjoy clean, dry-rock (and fake-rock) climbing. If you can drive right up to the rock, great, and if there’s a mile or two of an approach, fantastic – I need the warmup anyway. Rock climbing is physically demanding and rewarding; it can be a fun mental challenge; and it’s also remarkably social.

Despite the fact that I live in a state that gets pretty cold winters, and despite the fact that I live within 2 miles of a pretty decent place to try it, I’ve never gone ice climbing. I’m somewhat intrigued, but not enough to take a stab (<<bad axe joke) at it, partly because the gear is expensive, partly because the notion of climbing water seems a little too questionable. It’s not something I’m going to add to my too-long list of hobbies.

I also run. Today I tried snowshoe running. That one’s going to get added to the list, for sure. What FUN! And, it was so nice to get outside, and into nature, as well. This winter has kept me cooped up, as running on the icy streets has been too treacherous.

I am fully aware that today was one of those bluebird days where any detractors simply weren’t present. There was no wind, the temp was maybe 15, I was appropriately dressed and equipped, I had a wonderful instructor and running buddy, and the park, well, it’s one of my favorites. Afton State Park does not disappoint.

We ran one loop of the 3-mile course that this running club maintains; it took an hour. I wanted to do a second loop, but figured 1 hour was plenty for today, especially as I was making my body do something a little out of the ordinary.

The body mechanics of snowshoe-running are a little different from street- or trail running. You have to sort of duck-run, to make sure you don’t trip yourself. At the same time, you need to make sure you don’t dip the tips of them into some heavy snow. We were on a well-traveled trail, this morning, but it still had a limited width. The only time I fell, I was luckily within reach of a tree, and grabbed it. Still, falling in that deep, medium-weight snow wouldn’t have hurt, much.

My friend Nancy lent me her Northern Lites and a pair of short gaiters. Those snowshoes are fabulously light- I’ve snowshoed once before in heftier MSRs, when I climbed up to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier. Upon taking those off – after climbing uphill for hours with a loaded pack – I was reasonably sure that I was going to start levitating. These Northern Lights didn’t seem much heavier than my trail shoes!

After our run there was a potluck. Actually, it was called a “fat ass,” which is a more appropriate name for most potlucks in Minnesota, as there is always so much food! We all needed the fuel, after that run. I did my part by bringing in a soba noodle-carrot salad, and some biscotti.

I hope to do it again, next Saturday.


2 thoughts on “Something new

  1. Steve says:

    Technically, it’s the run that’s called a Fat Ass, but your idea makes more sense. Wish I could’ve been there.

  2. Arah says:

    Aha. I am slowly learning the ways and lingo of this thing called trail running. My ass felt anything but fat, during the run, however. I’m still stunned by how nimble I felt, on those snowshoes. What fun! Can’t believe I waited this far into winter, to try it.

    The addiction continues: I’ve elected to do the Trail Mix in April, rather than a road half-marathon out east. I’ve gathered a few co-conspirators, so we can do the team 50k.

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