Last week I took on a new venture: snowshoeing. I wanted to try snowshoeing for years, and the opportunity presented itself when UNM Recreational Services offered a group snowshoe hike.
After asking a few people with snowshoeing experience if they thought I could do it, I signed up to go. I had some reservations after the sub-freezing temperatures we had throughout New Mexico a couple of weeks ago, but the day was a beautiful sunny day – typical for New Mexico. I carefully planned several layers of clothing. I get cold and hate being cold, but I knew with the sun and the exercise it would get warm quickly.
Set with gear, clothing and snacks we drove up to Santa Fe’s Aspen Vista Trail. While this is a forest service road, starting at 10,000 feet at the parking lot, we took the scenic route through the aspen trees straight up hill…
While snowshoeing is like walking with very wide shoes, this was a HIKE, not a walk. We would stop for regular breaks to let everyone re-group and catch their breath. Here is how the first half of the hike went: uphill, uphill, meadow, hill, and hill. It was invigorating and warm.
The hike uphill was just over one mile in distance, but a climb of over 1,000 feet. When we emerged near the top of the Santa Fe Ski Area’s Super Chief chair lift at 11,250 feet it was clear, sunny and a bit windy, but with spectacular views of New Mexico. It was worth the higher heart rate!
After a short lunch with the group, and learning to maneuver sitting down and standing up in snowshoes (lots of laughing), we headed back down the mountain. This is a little trickier, and much faster, but still 100% fun.
Some of us went off the trail and ventured into untouched powder, which was an adventure on its own. Tumbling, sliding and hysterical laughter soon became the norm. By now, we had unzipped jackets and gloves stashed into pockets. It was warm and even falling in the snow with bare hands didn’t slow us down. We dried and warmed up quickly.
Back at the parking low, things got chilly quickly. But with some hot chocolate with marshmallows and new friends all around, we drove back to Albuquerque.