Saturday, January 28, 2017

Are Snowshoes -- A Wiser Choice For Old Folks?

They say you're never too old to learn, but a cowboy hero of mine named Will Rogers also said, "Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."

Cross Country Skis For Old Folks?

In 2014, I bought a new pair of NNN style cross country skis, and planned a late season trip to Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park to try them out. 

Badger Pass has ski conditions posted online, and the latest report (March 2014) stated the snow surface is "spring conditions."  I soon learned first hand that "spring conditions" is really euphemism for solid ice.

To make a long story short, the lessons learned at the Badger Pass cryosphere were:

1.) an artificial hip makes it difficult to do a snow plough on ice
2.) ski poles do not replace good snow plough technique
3.) you can't pole vault with cross country ski poles.

Don't get me wrong, if you're young, athletic, and a reasonably skilled Nordic skier Badger Pass has plenty to offer, and the scenery is spectacular.

That little adventure resulted in a broken ski pole, and trip to an orthopedic surgeon for an MRI which revealed at torn ligament in my shoulder.  I opted not to have surgery.  The pain is finally gone and I have fair strength, so I guess the ligament has somewhat repaired itself.

What I learned is... if you are nearly 75 years-old, haven't skied much recently, and have an artificial hip maybe using cross country skis isn't the best idea.

For Old Folks Snowshoes Might Be A Wiser Choice

I'm either a slow learner, don't give up easily, or maybe it's the fond memories of winter forest adventures from the past.  Whatever it is, I am once again drawn to the enchanted winter wonderland that wilderness trails offer.

This year (2017) I did some research, watched a bunch of online videos, and have purchased snowshoes, trekking poles, winter boots, and other winter gear from my favorite online retailer -- LL Bean.

LL Bean's breathable, waterproof Snow Sneakers  rated +35° to -5°

Because I am "an old guy" I often end up traveling alone, and as always when traveling in a wilderness area I carry a few essentials that will make my trip more enjoyable, and just might save my life.

As you may know I'm an avid canoeist, so I have lots of survival gear in my canoeing equipment bag.  The important thing is to remember to return borrowed essentials to my canoe bag at the end of winter.


SNOWSHOES: ☐ snowshoes ☐ trekking poles ☐ gaiters

WEAR: ☐ nylon shorts ☐ long sleeve poly undershirt ☐ Swix ski pants ☐ ski jacket ☐ heavy wicking wool socks ☐ snow sneakers ☐ wool cap ☐ ski gloves ☐ Swiss army watch ☐ sunglasses ☐ wallet, car keys & cash ☐ waterproof camera

BACKPACK: ☐ topo map ☐ √ whistle & compass ☐ √ first aid kit ☐ √ Swiss army knife, wire, multi tool, wire & duct tape (snowshoe or canoe repairs) ☐ √ SOL emergency bivy, paracord & survival book  ☐ √ headlamp & extra batteries ☐ √ Lighter, SOL fire starter & sierra cup ☐ toilet paper ☐ waterproof shell jacket ☐ extra cap, socks & gloves ☐ bottle of water ☐ thermos of hot coffee ☐ √ sunblock & lip balm ☐ energy bars ☐ hand warmers

VEHICLE: ☐ tire chains ☐ emergency shovel ☐ blankets ☐ flares & tools ☐ food ☐ hand & foot warmers ☐ battery-powered lantern ☐ extra clothes, boots, gloves & cap

√ return to canoe extras bag

Happy Trails

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