We eyed C. and her baby doubtfully. This was going to be an arduous snowshoe hike, with a lot of elevation gain, trail breaking, and snow in the forecast. Besides the weight of her 10 month old in a front pack, C. also carried a backpack and a sleeping pad to sit on. But she looked tough, and was half our age, so we started out.
D.'s son had broken trail two days before, but it had been windy overnight, and his tracks disappeared in places under drifts. We traded off breaking trail as we climbed to the lookout point. The baby fell asleep immediately as her mother started hiking. She woke up at the ridge where we stopped for a snack, looked around with interest, and smiled.
We continued on, along a narrow, airy ridge and down into a magical valley. I think it snows here more than anywhere in the area. The trees are encased in white; we call them snowghosts. OUr snowshoes sank in the drifts. There was a creek below our feet, but it was covered by snow.
We climbed out of the valley and onto slopes that in the summer are covered with brush. Still, the baby rode along contentedly, only fussing when her beanie slipped down on her face. This was obviously not her first rodeo. She seemed at home in the woods, the cold and the snow.
We were tired on the way down. We all fell; R. and I resorted to the tried and true butt slide down some of the hills. We giggled like kids; the baby regarded us solemnly.
I'm glad to see that little A. is being brought up to spend long hours outside. I hope she grows up to love the wilderness and feel comfortable there. I also hope that we can return to this hike when she can walk up there, and we can see all this beauty through her eyes.