My First Snowshoeing Trip - Part I: Gearing UpPosted by | 10.30.2018
The first stop for this would-be adventurer is the JAX Coffee Bar to complete my morning routine!
I followed the courteous directions over to the Climbing and Camping Department of JAX, where the Rental equipment and desk can be found.
I began eyeballing the rows of Tubbs and MSR snowshoes, simultaneously excited and lost at where to begin. What size and design I would need?
Just then, the JAX Rental Associate named Mark had finished up with another customer and headed over to greet me. He asked if “I needed any help” and I exclaimed “I’ve been invited on my first snowshoeing trip and I need some gear to help me keep up.”
Mark asked my height and weight and disappeared through the backstock doorway for a moment. When he reappeared from the portal he had two adjustable poles and a pair of red MSR Revo Snowshoes.
I slipped off my street boots and put on my clunky, but very warm and comfortable, brown Itasca snow boots I had bought previously for sledding. After awkwardly fiddling with the elastic straps I gave them a strong squeeze and latched the loop. A good couple stomps to confirm a solid hold and I felt ready to go!
Mark asked if there was anything else I needed, like a pack to carry my gear. I thought about my usual hiking bag, a sturdy but heavy survival pack. It’s a bag I love that has compartments for equipping many needs you would expect to run into while out camping. Still, it may have been overkill for this trip.
I described the bag to Mark and my concern was confirmed. My trusty pack would likely create extra exertion for me, which it turn generates heat and then the dreaded sweat (more on this danger later).
There were no shortage of lightweight pack options with a breathable mesh to help avoid heat buildup.
I concluded my order and thanked Mark for his recommendations; gathering my snowshoes, pole and pack to exit the store. I might have made it 50 paces before the corner of
my eye locked on to a colorful, tiered display of thermuses and on-the-go drink ware. An image of my aging squeeze water bottle that had always accompanied me on hikes entered my mind and a solution offering better warmth sure would come in handy.
I quickly scanned through designs for Stanley, Hydro Flask and Yeti cylindrical “Rambler” styles. My only real experience with any of the brands was a cabin trip last season with my cousin. He brought his huge Yeti Cooler. Being the gold standard in his “serious camper” repertoire, he took great pride in his cooler for good reason. I was amazed to see the cooler kept our allotment of weekend necessities like food (and beer) cold throughout the trip. This had given me a partial bias toward Yeti, so I grabbed an elongated thermus-style over-the-top carry Rambler and hopped back over to check-out. NOW I was ready for my trip!
Check back in for Part II: Snowshoeing Cameron’s Pass
Part II PREVIEW
Awaking to a message that my cousin (adventure chaperone for the occasion) was on his way, I quickly began shoving gear into my pack. I had stayed up past midnight with an assortment of everything camping and survival gear that I owned, now scattered across my living room floor. As I chugged down my coffee and hastily poured the rest into my new Yeti for safe keeping, the doorbell rang heralding the arrival of my guide. It’s go-time!
We picked up the third member of our expedition and grabbed sandwiches from the Backcountry Delicatessens in Fort Collins’ Old Town. With hunger subdued we aimed north and began the two hour+ drive into the mountains, winding up toward Cameron’s Pass - final destination...
TO BE CONTINUED ...