Nordeen Long Loop

February 5, 2017.

4.75 mi. | 200′ ele. gain | 2:45 hr.

9 am Sunday morning. Swampy Sno-Park. One car in the parking lot. We’d struck gold. I’ve noticed that people tend to get a late start on Sundays. Not sure if it’s church, or partying hard Saturday night or sheer laziness or what. But I was happy to have some quiet time in the fresh snow, less than 30 minutes out of town.

Today I was joined by Abby and Aaron to snowshoe on a loop trail designed for snowshoers, not cross country skiers. So we wouldn’t have to worry about trampling their precious ski tracks or anything. A snowshoe trail, who knew?

We followed the well-marked trail through unbroken snow. It was a chilly morning. The sky was overcast, making it feel even colder outside. Without the warm sun rays breaking through the brisk air, we relied only on our trapped body heat to stay comfortable.

When the sky is gray and the snow is white, I feel a bit out of sorts. It’s difficult to distinguish the landscape vertically. Green tree branches helped to break up the monotonous tone. Occasionally the sun would poke through a break in the clouds, casting long shadows on the snow. I couldn’t imagine living in a more northern climate that has even shorter days than this. I’d lose my mind.

Arriving at the warming shelter, we sat down and pulled out our snacks. We took only a short break before moving on.

What little bit of sun appeared at the shelter sneaked back behind the curtain of gray for the reminder of our trip. Bundled up, we kept moving to stay warm. Aaron picked up the lead again and broke trail all the way back to the parking lot. By the time we got back, the trailhead was abuzz with activity. So many people were making preparations to snowshoe or ski into the backcountry. But for us, it was almost noon, so…it was time to head into town and eat some lunch.

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