Mount Shark – Trails

Sandy and I did this snowshoe on Saturday, December 5, 2015. It was overcast and snowing a bit but still a nice day for snowshoeing.

When we did our first snowshoe, the rivets on the bottom of mine came apart, so I had to return them to Costco; so I was happy that I had a new pair to go out with.

We started off at the last parking lot (the one after the Helipad parking). From there, we went up the service road to the helipad area but cut off into the bushes the first chance we got. We followed a creek bed up a small valley. I was breaking trail and soon got tired of wading in thigh high snow. It was tough as I am not used to it yet. I would take a step, sink up to my knees, take another step, sink up to my knees. It was a slow go, but worth it. As we got deeper into the woods (I was following a topographical map of the area so we could meet up with a trailhead system not far from where we were), the snow got deeper and deeper and the terrain became steep in sections (only for a few feet then it would level out).

When we reached the end of the creek (I have no idea where it starts since it just ends), we found the bank that was the least steep and started to scale it. I found that finding trees to anchor your snowshoe against while pushing off was the best way to not slide down the hill. When we had to cross the creek (which was about waist deep), I found what I thought was a log to carefully walk across, but it turns out it was a tiny tree bent in half. It was strong enough to support me if I was careful to put my weight directly over top (as the alternative would be to fall into a big pillow of snow and struggle to get out). Once across, we climbed the hill and traversed through the forest.

When we thought we managed to reach the trail, we started marking our way, since it appeared that no one else had been on it. We walked for a bit then came to the realization that maybe it wasn’t the trail (our first clue was that it just ended, much like the creek). We walked up a small hill and discovered the true trail, along with other signs that people had been there… The trail went all the way to the lake, but we didn’t have the time to go to the destination. After about an hour or so on the trail, we turned back.

At the part where we entered the trail system, we started to head back down. We were going to cut through the forest and meet up with the parking lot; or so that was the plan. There were sections of snow that buried my pole; luckily, I didn’t sink as much as my pole did. After about an hour, we came to the cross country ski trails, the only issue was it was below us and we had to find a way to drop down 20 feet. In the summer, I am sure it is a very steep hill or at most, a small cliff; in the winter, it was a bit more deceiving. Somehow on the way down, I must have stepped on a sharp branch which tore right through my snowshoe (second pair toast, thankfully Costco accepted the return!). We had an easy walk back to the car until we met a moose. He was wandering the parking lot, licking the salt off the cars. He was quite uninterested in us as we walked past him.

In Summary:

A relatively easy snowshoe with some intermediate sections. I would like to come back and go all the way to the lake.

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