I Love Snow

Now that I have my gear squared away, I’ve started worrying more about food and resupply. I think I have that pretty figured out, but I’ve learned that you can’t outwit the gathered wisdom of PCT alumni. I fear that were I to share with them what I think I will be eating, they would issue a collective hearty laugh. So I’m going to think about it some more before I say it out loud, but for the moment I think it’s pretty fool-hardy (lightweight, nutritious, high-calorie, and soy-free) and do-able.

After watching the wonderful 2011 hike videos by K-Cop and Iguana, I’ve been thinking about snow. Here is their Northern California epic:

Opposed to flip-flopping or otherwise skipping this section just because of snow, they trudged through. It was BRUTAL. Postholing for hours only to cover a few miles, insanely dangerous (deadly, really) water crossings, and extra suffering from the sun (burn) and cold and wet. Their videos made me cry (no, not with sadness — with excitement!), and helped ground me quite a bit. 2011 was a notoriously difficult year due to heavy snow pack in the Sierras. Here’s what it looked like on paper:

For reference, here is what the 2012 hikers had in comparison. Cake walk!

And… drum roll… this is how 2013 snowpack measuring up:

I guess it’s starting to sound like I’m afraid of snow. I’m definitely not. Having grown up in Alaska I am if anything perilously in love with snow. There was no snow in Portland this year. I will be so excited to see snow this spring that I will probably get too wet and cold making attempts at snowballs and snow angels and other snowcapades. I’m sure the charm will wear off quickly, but I do also have the wits, body memory, and language (how many words for snow do YOU have?) when it comes to snow. I’ll be fine. It looks like I will still definitely need my snow gear (microspikes, ice axe, gaiters) but that overall I will feel much more comfortable and safe than the 2011 hikers did. I am thankful for that. The snowpack slowed them down and/or discouraged them so much, really putting a huge dent in their morale. I admire the ones who attempted it in 2011, and worship the hikers who made it thru that year.