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Beaver Lake nightshoe
posted by John : November 16, 2013

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The plan was to have a kid-directed Saturday, then head to the Pass to enjoy the new snow Sunday morning while Amy was off doing her thing. Except the forecast changed and instead of being partly sunny with fresh snow on Sunday it was expected to be 35F and raining. So… Nightshoeing!

Usually, nightshoeing is an adults-only activity. The dark. The bitter cold. The booze. It just isn't something that says, "Yeah. Bring the kids." But the mountains are all about adapting to survive so rather than miss out on the powder I threw the kids into the truck.

It was 4pm when we started and the slopes were covered with families enjoying the first snow of the season. The trick with the kids is getting them to buy into the adventure. Snowshoeing is usually adventurous enough, but the prospect of doing it in the dark had two of them raring to go. The third, well, let's just say it wasn't high on the priority list.

The first 100 feet of gain were not going well. It took us half an hour to go a quarter mile. Then, for no reason I can explain, the switch was flipped and we were all in, cruising up the hill. A nice trench led us to the PCT that crossed under the lifts. I was hoping to get to Beaver Lake on the edge of the trees, but we decided it was time for cocoa where the trail passed a distinctive looking fir.

Henry pounded a couple mugs of cocoa. Lilly sang and danced. Clara sculpted in the snow. Perhaps some other time we'll be back with a tent and we'll stay the night, but this adventure had run its course and we had to return to the truck.

All three kids (and Treen) loved the downhill. They ran through the powder until the tips of their 'shoes caught and they did a faceplant. Some were more skilled than others, but the correlation between dexterity and age gives me hope that they'll all eventually figure out how not to fall.

Henry led much of the way down while I pulled up the rear. Only our headlamps were still working and I didn't have spare batteries for the kid lamps, just my own. (Note to self: Switch to headlamps that all use the same size batteries.)

On the way home I quizzed Lilly and Henry about their new 'shoes. Tubbs made a few tweaks to the FLEX Jr line this year and I wanted to know if they noticed. The new colors were definitely a hit with the kids. I really like the new heel strap that is easier to get in place even when it's caked in snow.

The kids survived their first nightshoeing adventure, but more impressively so did I. If the weather remains mild we'll do it again. I don't know that I'll push my luck and take them out in the low 20s or teens. The tears would freeze on their cheeks and I'd be in real trouble. (See? I'm not totally irresponsible.)

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