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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Senior Hiking #380 - Mickinnick

23° - 27°

Nov 29, 2010…Mickinnick snowshoes …tr #13 …
hike # 380
by Betsy
Winter is officially here. Two feet of snow sit on our roof and today we snow shoed thru four feet at the far end of the trail. It was not snowing but was cold…I wore my new Eddie Bauer down vest over a myriad of other long john tops. We carried the Stabilicers just in case the trail was icy and slippery on the way down, as is so often the case on this trail, but definitely wore the snowshoes.

This trail is the closest one to our home…only about 7 minutes away on Greenhorn Mountain, one mountain away from our mountain, Shadow Mountain. It is very popular and very steep in spite of its short one way length of almost 4 miles. I always tell people who ask about it, if you can past the first third without collapsing, you have it made. It doesn’t get seriously steep again till you get to the very top.
Started out and after a few minor adjustments for both of us…snowshoes and face mask…we got our rhythm, albeit very slow. The snow was about 2 feet deep at the start but got increasingly deep as we progressed. Old snowshoe tracks were visible for just a short way and then we were on own, breaking trail. Of course, we lost the trail at the usual places…as many times as we have done this hike, it is difficult to find your way with the trail and the trees so covered with snow. So over and under, up and down, we tried to work our way toward the goal…there were many newly downed trees which only complicated matters. The snow was now four feet deep and working our way thru it was hard…especially for the leader, my normal position, but which I happily gave up early.
We stopped for our mango break and I realized I completely forgot to keep snacking on the energy jelly beans! I was getting hungry. After four hard hours of trudging and not knowing how to get back on the trail to the top, we turned around. Not only were we running out of steam but out of time as well…dark comes early now and descending in the dark was not part of the plan. But not before the fearless leader took a fall in the deep snow and could not get up. He left his ‘Life Alert’ at home! Ha. After snapping lots of pictures of his attempt to right himself, I went over to the beached whale and lent him my shoulder and back to lean on…that did the trick. Headed back just a short way to get under some trees for shelter and ate our lunch. As hard as it was to take the warm mitts off, we did, and lunch hit the spot. It was now snowing lightly.

A spot of dark suddenly appeared in the white of the snow all around us …it was a young buck mule deer, happily munching on whatever he could find. Not at all timid, the mulie just kept eyeing us as I zoomed in with my camera and began to snap away. We kept walking toward him and when we ventured a bit too close for his comfort, he bounded away.

About a mile from the bottom, we met a man coming up...we were so surprised! He had no hat, light gloves, no poles, no camera, nor pack, no dog and after chatting a bit with him he said he would be turning around soon. Then closer to the bottom we met two gals coming up...again we were surprised….they were equally not prepared for being out very long. And then almost to the truck, we met a couple out for a stroll in the snow…if they stayed out for long their feet, already covered in snow, were going to be very cold. They are new Sandpoint residents…we chatted for a while and answered all their cold weather gear questions. They were impressed with not only what we were wearing but our knowledge. Nice people. The truck was a welcome sight.

Left home 9:15
Started up 9:30
Turned around 1:30Got to truck 4:00
Total miles hiked 5½ - 6 miles
Total hiking time 6 hours, 30 minutes

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