It’s been almost a year since we last ventured forth on our snowshoes – for a hike to the summit of Burton Butte in the Oregon Cascades. After that, the snow in Oregon stopped cooperating (i.e., it melted) and then we found a whole lot of other stuff to keep us busy (like moving). But we dutifully packed our snowshoes since we’d heard that it snowed in Minnesota – maybe even more so than in Oregon. โ„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜‰

After a wonderfully long summer and lingeringly mild Fall, winter finally reached the Gopher State. The first couple of snow storms whitened things up some but didn’t bring enough frozen sky water to justify unlimbering the snowshoes. Plus much of this snow was packed flat and firm by all the folks keen to get out and play in it.

This changed starting last Monday night when a real Storm-a-Geddon arrived after having thoroughly soaked the West Coast and points in between. It’s been snowing here ever since and thus far a foot (30 cm) or more has fallen all over everything. Collisions and closures on the highways. A ground-stop at the airport. School delays. All the usual Winter stuff.

The time had arrived to unpack our snowshoes and take them for a “warm-up” out-and-back shuffle to nearby Lone Lake. No need to get in the car and experience any winter driving excitement. Probably a good idea since every collision repair shop in Minnesota is booked until Spring. ๐Ÿ˜•

We found plenty of snow out there now for snowshoes. We’re calling it a Fourth Day snowshoe as an homage to the First Day hike we did before Storm-a-Geddon struck. The season’s first snowshoe always reminds us of how much more (good) exercise it is than just skipping along in running shorts and trail shoes.

The brave snowshoer smile returns
Down to Lone Lake
Arriving at Lone Lake
Lone Lake
A pier for all seasons
Heading over the ridge
And down the other side…
In the Nine Mile Creek drainage
Circling back
Across the marsh
Along the upper trail
Up to the parking lot
A lonesome day a Lone Lake

Even at just 2.8 miles (4.5 km), this season’s first snowshoe outing roused those snow-specific muscles that lie dormant (and uncomplaining) during the languid months of simple walking. We drop kicked these muscles into action today and they were (and are) not happy. Not happy. ๐Ÿ˜’

But as winter progresses, these muscles will fall into line and stop their whinging (helped along in that regard by the miracle of ibuprofen). Then we can keep painlessly busy in the snow until winter relents and the wildflowers return. ๐ŸŒผ๐Ÿ˜

Our short snowshoe hike at Lone Lake