Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snowshoeing in Deutschland

This past weekend I was a very happy girl. Why is that, you ask?  Well, I finally got to go snowshoeing.  This was easily one of my favorite pastimes living in Vermont, and it's an activity that I have missed dearly.  I was so looking forward to living in a place that would provide me opportunities to snowshoe again.  Our home is surrounded by rolling hills, forests, and farm trails. Covered in snow, it could easily become a snowshoer's paradise.  Unfortunately winter here has not brought the snow we were all promised.  Some are relieved, and I feel that many locals certainly are, but I have been really disappointed.

Earlier this month one of my friends noticed that a group snowshoeing adventure was being pulled together by MWR on post, and I was extremely happy she thought of me.  It didn't take any time for me to commit to going, and I was looking forward to going out with a group of people discovering this amazing sport for the first time.

I was starting to freak out that the trip would have to be cancelled because literally, there was no snow.  Just a lot of really nasty and cold rain.  The tides turned and snow finally fell just in time for our trip. In fact, I woke up this past Saturday morning to a beautiful snowfall.

We had a great mix of people including one of the little ones :) 
Having snowshoed many times before, I knew that as long as the hike was mildly strenuous (which we had been promised it would be), I would be warm - very, very warm - regardless of how cold it was outside.  What I didn't anticipate was that the snow would be falling all day, and be heavy and wet and that the winds would be blowing up to 25 mph.  Let's just say I took some mental notes and I will be slightly more prepared next time.

The group was fun and the guides were informative and chatty.  I had a great time in the snow with my friend, and made a few others along the way.  As I expected, snowshoeing is pretty much the same here in Germany as it would be anywhere else in the world.  Our guides took us to a beautiful hike in the mountains of Bavaria.  The snowstorm made driving a little more exciting than the guides probably wanted, including narrowly missing a tree when we parked, it was wild!  But the snow also insured that we would have plenty of white power to walk through in our snowshoes.

The scenery was incredible.  My pictures pale in comparison to what they might have looked like if Big R had come along with me (which is something I was wishing for the entire day), but they provide a good eye on how amazing and tranquil the experience was for all of us.

The snow was much deeper than it appears.  Without snowshoes, I sunk to my knees!

Much of the trail was decorated with these rock formations.  It reminded me of my mother's property in the desert.  A perfect mix of my two favorite places:  Vermont and the Mojave desert.

If you look closely at this photograph you can see how windy and wet it was that day.

Our guides built a small fire at the top.  Unfortunately, the wind didn't let us enjoy it for long.

Many of us took off our snowshoes and climbed some "stairs" to the top of a formation.  We had to hold on tight not to blow away. This is a tortured self-portrait from the top.

 The day had to come to an end as we all gathered around the vans and unloaded our gear.  We were quite literally soaked to the bone - all of us.  Many of us didn't even bother taking off clothing because everything was so wet.  I don't know about the others, but I wasted no time finding a hot shower when I got home.  I had such an enjoyable time in the elements and surrounded by nature that I somehow fought off the onset of a stomach flu.  It was kindly waiting for me when I got home.  Thank goodness that nasty virus let me enjoy the day because it was a wonderful one.   

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