|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Snowshoe hike rule No. 1: Have fun

  • Every Saturday and Sunday from Thanksgiving until April, Crater Lake National Park offers ranger-guided snowshoe hikes in the park. They even provide the snowshoes if you don't have them, and it's all free.
    • email print
    • See more photos
      To see a photo essay of Carlyle Stout's Crater Lake snowshoe hike, go to http://stouttraveladventure.blogspot.com/

      To sign up for a hike, call Crater Lake at 541-594-3100.
      » Read more
      X
      See more photos
      To see a photo essay of Carlyle Stout's Crater Lake snowshoe hike, go to http://stouttraveladventure.blogspot.com/



      To sign up for a hike, call Crater Lake at 541-594-3100.
  • Every Saturday and Sunday from Thanksgiving until April, Crater Lake National Park offers ranger-guided snowshoe hikes in the park. They even provide the snowshoes if you don't have them, and it's all free.
    My wife, Barb, and I had gone the past two years, and it is so boss and so much fun we decided to go again. So on the first Saturday in February, we went with our friends, Art and Carolee.
    There was organized chaos in the parking lot as hikers strapped on their snowshoes, some for the first time. It is a simple procedure like slipping on overboots.
    Our guide was Ranger Dave Grimes, and he gave us an introduction to the hike, saying it would last about two hours and cover a couple of miles. He insisted that one of the rules of the hike was that we all have fun, so he had everyone do a penguin slide down a slope before we got started.
    We started at the lodge and went east toward Garfield Peak. Following directions to stay in line and not stray off the trail, we marched single-file and crossed a vast meadow heading for the trees in the distance.
    Ranger Dave led us on a circuitous route through the forest, including some steep downhill sections, but the snowshoes provided good traction. These hikes are so popular that there were three of them that day, and each group had about 30 people. Each group went to a different area, so we never saw the other hikers.
    The hikes are very educational, as the ranger gives short talks about the flora, fauna and ecology of the park. After every 20 minutes of hiking, we would circle up and Ranger Dave would tell us something interesting. We learned that 80 percent of the trees in park are mountain hemlock and the nuts in their cones supply the main food source for the gray squirrels in the park.
    He also explained that lichens are really a symbiotic combination of 80 percent fungi and 20 percent algae. The fungi provides the necessary insulation and warmth for the algae to withstand winter's cold temperatures, and the algae provides photosynthesis so the lichen can grow.
    In some places, the trail wound through calf-deep snow amid old-growth mountain hemlocks. It was so quiet it was eerie. Without the ranger leading us, we could have easily gotten lost.
Reader Reaction
      • calendar