Participants: Steve Schombel, Peter DiFurio, Eric, Mitch, Shirley & Tracy Hall, David & Julie Kahl
When it seemed that we would have both a ski and a snowshoe party, I had pretty much decided to go with the snowshoe party, so it wasn’t quite too disturbing when, while loading our gear that morning, we discovered that my ski boot was broken. We met at Walmart and drove up in three vehicles, starting a half hour earlier than we used to, paid off with plenty of parking yet. We convened in the Visitors’ Center while some got parking passes and such. David and Peter set out to ski around the Glade Cr. Loop to the Pack Cr. Bridge and then down a short section of the larger Packer Meadows Loop to the road then up the road, past the camas meadow, to rejoin the Pack Cr. Trail and follow it back to the Visitors’ Center.
It was the first time out on snowshoes for most of the Hall family, we took our time doing the gear shake down phase in the Visitors’ Center. Steve joined us and with everyone properly equipped we walked across the snowmobile parking area to the snow plow turn around, just off the highway, to snowshoe up the road that wends up the west end of the State Line Ridge, just above the parking lot. Three of Hall family had new snowshoe packages with a nice carrying bag and matching collapsible aluminum poles that could be either trekking poles or ski poles. As we were getting our snowshoes on I noticed that their poles didn’t have any baskets. Mitch said they were in the car and went back to get them. Meantime, I gave Eric my poles and he started up the trail. There was a wide ski track, so it wasn’t quite breaking trail, but still some work for the leader. A wide ski-ed back country skier passed us, then a couple with skinny skis and a happy dog. When Mitch caught up we stomped a platform off the trail to get the baskets on their poles. Mitch took over breaking trail after a while, then we stomped a platform again to eat lunch, going on after that. We discussed tree wells, some avalanche perimeters, and on one outside turn got good views down Hwy 12, into Montana. At the next good view point the weather had closed in and the view was gone. It snowed all day, but there was no wind. By the time we left at 3:30 it was up around freezing, skiers were commenting on sticky snow. That view point was a good place to turn around, as soon the road would get steep and brushy. Steve lead the way out and the couple with the now -very happy- dog passed us. Back at the Visitors’ Center, we had more lunch and the Halls took turns trying out two pairs of cross country skis they had brought. We visited until David and Peter got back, and the Halls were still having fun when the rest of us left.
Trying to either buy new three-pin boots or get mine fixed in the few days before Christmas was interesting. One place I went to said they couldn’t even order three-pins any more. Not what the on-line catalogs say, but don’t know how long it would take to actually get them. My hope lies in getting them fixed for now.