Sunday, March 8, 2009

Snowshoeing Towards Relay Peak

What a day for Chris to pick to get up extra early for a snowshoeing hike up to Relay Peak- the morning after Daylight Savings! (The idea was to get a few pictures of a sunrise view of the mountains, plus we're busy people!) I was excited to get in my first good workout since I threw out my back two weeks ago (yes, complete with the stuck-in-bed and the pain, and even a little passing out to make a joyful mix), and didn't sleep well to begin with, so when my alarm went off at 5:00 a.m.- I mean 6:00 a.m., my body shouted, "NO! Need more SLEEP! It's COLD out there!" After a few minutes of stretching, I remembered I was excited to be outside getting a good workout! After all, I only have 3 more weeks until I have to climb 52 flights of stairs for the Climb California event in San Francisco to help raise $$$ for lung cancer. (YES! I still need you to donate money- I still have $75 left to raise [Thanks Kris for the mula!]) And what better way to work the glutes than by running in some snow?

We all met at the South Valleys Library, aka, my second home, just as it was starting to get light out, Team Library Dork piled into Turi's Rav4 and made our way up to the base of the Mount Rose trail. Here is a picture of the sun coming up on Mt. Rose, from the parking lot.

We strapped in while Chris left to take care of some business (Hey Chris- here is your reminder to clean and disinfect your left snow shoe!), and then headed up the trail (by pretty much climbing up the snow on top of the bathrooms). I had a little fun adjusting to walking in show shoes as this was my first time in them, and only had to take a knee once at the beginning. Here is the beginning of the trail with Turi getting a few pictures of his own:

Right away, we could see some breath taking views of Lake Tahoe, with the clouds rushing by overhead- another shot with the sun just crowing the peak of the hill behind us to light up the mountain in front:

Our fearless leaders, Turi and Chris, mostly scouted ahead and did a bit of running here and there while I lead the slower team (and adjusting to an elevated heart rate at an elevation! Ha ha! A pun!). Dave was a great companion, and pretty much hiked the entire morning with me, while our much longer-legged team mates plowed the course for us.

Here they are waiting with Lake Tahoe in the background~

And a picture of the men folk: Dave, Chris and Turi.

We hiked for another mile or two, and then came the Wind. And this forbidding view of the peak we were hiking towards:

We nearly turned around and decided to make a loop through the meadows below us, across the highway instead. Also, we weren't doing any running (well, I wasn't) because the terrain was so unsteady, and the path was on a slant. It was obvious at this point that we weren't going to make it to the peak.

But the Wind! It was really picking up, and that decided for us rather quickly- get to the shelter of the trees! So we kept going on the path we were on, figuring we could go up for as long as we wanted, and turn around when felt like we'd hiked long enough. After a while, we got to hike through a groomed area between some trees, with lots of snow mobile tracks (that would have been fun too! but expensive) before coming to a flat open area.

Here we paused for a little break while we decided which fork in the trail to take. We were were exposed to the wind again, and I caught this "little" flurry on my camera. Notice what Turi's holding? In both hands?

A little trick he recently tried on his son didn't quite work on me...

So. Head toward Mt. Rose? Relay Peak was still pretty far up ahead, but the trail toward Mt. Rose was through the trees. However, once we decided to head toward the shelter of the trees, the trail all but disappeared, and we really didn't feel like getting lost in the unmarked back country. Before we turned around to call it a day, I snapped a couple pictures- here is Mt. Rose summit- it's worth clicking on to see the snow blowing across the top:

And one of Turi and I, and then one with Dave. (Chris was already high-tailin' it out of there and missed this once in a life time opportunity. Or until next time, that is. :)

On the way back, we were able to do a little running down the hill (yay, I was running! but Dave and I did only in spurts- running in snow shoes is WAY tiring, plus I haven't run in over two weeks), and we didn't see Turi or Chris until we reached the car again. Since I was trying my best to make them wait only a minimal amount, I didn't get any more pictures. But what a fun day! It was SO beautiful, despite the occasional blasts of skin-peeling snow crystals. Thanks Chris for introducing me to this new sport! I think I would have done okay in the 5k Fresh Tracks Snowshoe Race had I not thrown out my back the day before. (Yay to the rest of Team Library Dork- all three of them placed!) And thanks Dave for hanging back with me~ :)


Turi said...

Awesome! Fun to see a different set of pictures than mine. Sorry I missed with those snowballs... ;)

Gretchen said...

Ooh, beautiful pictures! What a great day!