Snowshoeing, Hot Cocoa, and a FoxPosted: November 29, 2011
On Saturday, we went snowshoeing. Finally back outside!
A few days before friends had generously loaned us a trunk load of winter gear so we were better prepared to take on the weather. It also warmed up a little, only -20, heat wave :). Our loaned gear included: snowshoes, parkas, and gloves. The parkas were a little like being wrapped up in a fluffy, down comforter. They were huge and warm. We looked like red and green marshmallows. But hey, warmth trumps fashion. The best part of the parka was the hood. Pulled up over your hat it covered almost your whole face. It gave you a horse-with-blinders-on feeling, but again, so warm! The gloves were designed for skiing but I am pretty sure they looked more like lobster claws. We doubled up our gloves with liners underneath. Toasty fingers. Add additional layers underneath everything and guess what, I actually got hot while we were snowshoeing. Crazy.
We decided to stick close to home for our first day out so we went to Chena Lakes Recreation Area. We took our snowshoes down on the floodplain. This is a popular winter spot for cross country skiing as well as dog mushing. No motorized vehicles allowed, which is nice, but the snow was still pretty rutted up from the dog sleds. It was around noon when we started, but the sun was already (read always) low on the horizon. It was pretty to see it peaking up over the trees and cresting across the snow. Really, it was just great to see the sun.
We were out for about an hour. Right before we turned around to head back to the car, we saw an animal. At first we thought it was a dog, then a wolf, then finally, we realized it was a huge red fox. It was trotting along the top of the wall that surrounds the floodplain, watching us while we watched it. In the end, it turned around. I guess it decided we were not something it wanted to deal with. For me, there is still (always) something magical about seeing wild animals. It makes you realize you have entered their world for a moment. We were just visitors.
We ended our outing with a cup of hot cocoa from our new thermos, looking out at the sun, and the snow, and the woods. Winter in Alaska continues to grow on me.