By Tim Hauserman
It happened once again today. That first snow of the season when we only get 2-4 inches of the white stuff. It’s enough to cover up our biking and hiking trails, but not deep enough to get out the beater nordic skis and take em for a spin in the woods. What is the outdoor exercise addict to do? Take a hike. The fresh snow is spectacularly beautiful, and is easy to walk through.
Today, I took the Tahoe Rim Trail from Granlibakken near Tahoe City up to Page Meadows. Much of the way, I had first tracks and even though I had biked on a good portion of this route less then a week ago, a light blanket of snow creates a place that looks entirely different. With all the vegetation covered except for the trees, our magnificent conifers stand out in all their glory. The red bark of the ancient Jeffrey Pines, and the dark brown cones of the Lodgepole pines, really pop out against the stark white of the snow. Little red firs covered in snow look like our fantasy of what a Christmas tree should be, and the last few yellow aspen leaves still on the trees shine bright against the sea of gray branches .
While walking through a fresh coat of snow, you realize that the forest acquires a different sound. It’s a muffled level of quiet that you only hear, or perhaps don’t hear, in the snow. The other thing you notice, are the animal tracks. Whether it is squirrels, coyote, or bear, the tracks that you probably wouldn’t notice in the dirt, stand out in the snow.
While we are waiting for the deep stuff that will get us putting on skis, take advantage of the conditions we have now. It’s well worth the walk.
A few tips: Wear comfortable but waterproof or water resistant boots. But don’t go for the big clodhoppers as they will be too heavy to walk long distances. Wear water resistant synthetic or wool clothing, similar to what you might wear cross-country skiing. You will be working up some heat so don’t overdress. Bring along some water and a snack, and perhaps an extra waterproof layer if their is a chance of snow or rain. If there is more then six inches of snow, please use snowshoes or cross-country skis, as your feet will wreck the trail for cross-country skiers and snowshoers who will coming along soon.