Friday, February 06, 2009

A warm wandering afternoon

The warm weather forecast for yesterday and the rest of the week had me worried that I might not get the chance to play with my new toys this winter. Being oh so fashionably late, I didn't order my new snowshoes until winter was pretty much over. On the plus side, I scored a pretty sweet deal with a 20% off sale and stacked another 10% coupon on that allowing me to buy a pretty high end set of shoes along with poles and a bag for less than the shoes normally retail for.
New shoes

Lots of grippy things (aka crampons)

The shoes are Atlas 1125 series along with Atlas collapsible poles. I went for something with a lot of grip in case I ever find myself scaling the hills of Colorado or more likely southern Iowa at our farm. They definitely work as advertised as I took off sidehill next to the levee trail towards the Denman's entrance. Sidehilling was pretty sweet as I barely slid at all. The only thing I really noticed right off the bat was these things fling snow. I mean like over your head if you get moving! I think it has something to do with the binding being set on a pivot point that is supposed to help pick up the tail when you walk. They definitely do that! I actually zipped my jacket up to keep any additional snow from shooting down my back. Beyond that small gripe, these things rock.

Don't you wish you were hot like me?

I tromped through the woods for close to an hour and worked up a nice little sweat. The one thing I noted about Denman's is that unless you see someone on the trail while you're riding, you really never get a feel for how close the various tracks run to each other. Walking through, I could hop from track to track to track and barely cover 50 yards of distance and in some cases much less. Once everything grows up in the summer, you'd never know how close that other track is. This is definitely a way to get a better perspective of the woods and the flow. I'll have to get back out there and do a little more off trail hiking/exploring this spring and summer for sure.

I ran across a structure I hadn't noticed before. This shelter is a scant 20-30 yards off the main track and I'm guessing must have been put together this winter. I thought it might be a bunch of flood debris from afar but as I got closer I saw this:

Are there tree spirits active in Denmans?

Apparently they like fires and sitting around them...

Still spooky looking

Maybe Squirrel or someone can shed some light on who put this thing up. Looks like it would be a great winter camp spot.

All in all, a nice way to kill off an hour on a warm afternoon. I've got to invest in some gators or snow pants as the snow flipping off the tail soaked the back of my legs from the knees down. Of course this might not be as much an issue in below freezing temps. The shoes worked pretty flawlessly other than that. Even the poles worked great. This was quite excellent considering I noticed I forgot to take off the plastic caps that cover the spikes as I was putting them away after my hike... Ooops. The poles are definitely a worthwhile add when buying some shoes though as they help to keep your entire body more active, plus work well for testing any possibly wonky areas you're getting ready to traverse.

I'm headed out for a couple hours tonight. The singletrack sure appeared to be rideable. I'm planning on giving it a try. There were even a few areas of bare dirt! Woohoo.


Squirrel said...

structure has been there a couple years....nobody notices at mach 3:)


Courtney said...

Ridable? About time.

Buckshot77 said...

There appeared to be a single set running both directions through there. Should be mushy and icy, but rideable.

It's a pretty sweet structure. I wouldn't have noticed other than I was shoeing right by the river edge.

Brian said...

Nice snowshoe set up. Don't you know that by getting sweet gear that I don't have, and then posting it up, you are costing me a lot of money?

Buckshot77 said...

Its payback for all the sweet day trips you get to take while I'm stuck slaving away at work...

Maverick said...

The snow shoe thing looks like a lot of fun. I'm sure we will get more snow this year.