Snowshoeing, at long last!

The snow arrived as promised, but it seems there’s -#NEVER ENOUGH. I previously mentioned a planned snowshoeing event at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on New Year’s Eve -where I ended up as the ‘sweep’ on the event. I was the last guy in the group, making sure we didn’t leave anyone behind, out on the trail. It was cold (-5 degrees F) and the turnout (about 30) was about 1/2 of what had been planned. I was following a young mom with her 7 year old boy, and they were moving pretty slowly. The boy dropped a snowshoe and I helped get him going again, then he kept taking his mittens off to make snowballs -too cold for that!  It was their first time snowshoeing and they enjoyed it. We didn’t lose anyone, and folks had fun -with no frostbite! I guess it was a success!

I brought my HT (handheld transceiver), aka a small amateur radio, along just to test it on 2 m simplex (146.52 MHz) as we snowshoed. I reached a couple of drivers traveling the nearby highway. The area normally has cell service, so a phone could be used if emergency personnel were required (but it’s nice to know there’s a viable back-up). I didn’t have any local repeater programmed in the radio -it’s a rural area, but I expect there is a repeater or two within reach. I’ll have to check that out!

 

MN Landscape Arboretum Snowshoe Hike (1), 12-31-17

 

MN Landscape Arboretum Snowshoe Hike (2), 12-31-17

 

Just over a week later, we got a good snowfall,  10″-14″ locally/regionally. The snowblower came in handy, and had it’s first real workout this season. I’ve now been out snowshoeing a few more times in recent weeks.

The first trip, since the good snow, was December 12th, to Frontenac SP ( about 70 mi. south of Minneapolis) along the Mississippi River, (also about 10 mi. So. of Red Wing, Minnesota. It’s a small park along a wide expanse of the river known as Lake Pepin, just north of Lake City. There are many large, scenic bluffs along the river valley in this area -very picturesque in any season.

We had received good snow the day before, and I was determined to get out. Again it was well below zero (day’s high was -5 degrees F), and I saw no one else in the park while I was there. I had fresh powder and freezing cold, all to myself ;-). Continually removing my gloves to take photos quickly became difficult, given the cold weather.

 

Snowy grassland hilltop, Frontenac SP

 

Fresh powder in Frontenac SP, 1-18

 

Sign of only me (below) and some of the critters residing in the park – deer, snowshoe hare, and something very small leaving the diagonal tracks across the above photo.

 

Me and my shadow… and deer prints formed a trail across the road.

 

Bluffs across the Mississippi, in Wisconsin. Viewed from Frontenac SP in Minnesota.

 

The Mississippi River, looking downstream.

 

After a couple of hours snowshoeing and taking photos in Frontenac SP, I decided to revisit the Ranger Station and warm up a bit. I found that I was indeed the only person to visit the park that day. I soon departed and headed north to Minneapolis, hoping to avoid heavy rush-hour traffic after my 90+ minute commute back to the city.

On my way home, I decided to swing by Minnehaha Falls, for a winter view.

 

Winter view of Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis

 

For a summer view of the Falls, the creek and Minnehaha Park, look here. I’ve also been snowshoeing at Lake Maria SP and Ft. Snelling SP over the past ten days, and those adventures will appear shortly.

I’ll post the additional snowshoeing next week -hopefully. I continue to have problems uploading photos to the blog, and cannot figure it out. I’ve contacted my blog host and WP seeking help -to no avail. It’s getting frustrating, and I have other things to do besides this blog! It shouldn’t be this difficult! Wish me luck!  WP -HELP!

73 de Mike, KEØGZT

~~~~~~~

 

 

About Mike Hohmann

I did lots of camping/hiking as a kid in the Scouts, and I still strive to 'be prepared.' After high school, I got bored with more school and enlisted in the Army Corps. of Engineers, doing two tours in Vietnam. Post military, I completed BS and MBA degrees and spent several decades with Corporate America, working mostly in the areas of conventional and renewable energy. I also spent over a decade as a self-employed small business consultant in marketing and finance. As a young family man with a wife and two kids, we spent many vacations camping and hiking in northern Minnesota. I spent additional long weekends fishing the rivers and camping/hiking along the North Shore of Lake Superior. I retired early and hit the trails hard-- in the lower-48, Alaska, and western Canada. These days I backpack, car-camp and day-hike, go snowshoeing, and try to get the grand-kids out to teach them the ways of the trail. Other interests include American Revolutionary War and Civil War history, 19th and 20th century firearms, Native American history; business and macroeconomics. I'm a recently-licensed amateur (Ham) radio operator, and I look forward to many radio-related adventures in coming months. Life is good! Member, Superior Hiking Trail Association; Member, Appalachian Mountain Club; Member, REI; Member, ARRL- Amateur Radio Relay League, the National Assoc. for Amateur Radio; Twin Cities Metro Skywarn Spotter; Twin City FM Club; Richfield Amateur Radio Club; QRP ARCI, Low-Power Amateur Radio Club International; Honorary Member, Toronto QRP Society; Life Member, National Rifle Association
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11 Responses to Snowshoeing, at long last!

  1. Hi Mike! I’m glad to read that you’ve been out snowshoeing. What a nice activity to do on New Year’s Eve and good of you to introduce this great activity to some newbies. Your excursion out to Frontenac SP looks amazing . I really like the photos of the bluffs and the frozen river…and to have it all to yourself is very special. Field mice tracks??? The frozen falls are very dramatic. Looking forward to more photos…good luck sorting out the glitch!

  2. Hello Mike, I popped by from Caroline’s blog and I am fascinated by the description of your adventures in your profile. I am looking forward to many a good read. Cheers.

    • Mike Hohmann says:

      Hello Dippy-Dotty Girl, thanks for visiting. I looked at your blog… very interesting! You my lady are a world traveler, a true world citizen, and an acquaintance of Carolines. I enjoyed reading several of your posts -interesting descriptions of some of your travels, accompanied by very nice photos. I’ll return to see more in the future. Hope you return to my blog on occasion as well!

  3. Why thank you, I just want to see as much as possible. I am enthused by your notes about dealing with the lovely bears of North America for our future hiking prospects. I will of course follow your journey as you adventure along. Cheers.

    • Mike Hohmann says:

      Hello again Dippy-Dotty Girl. In reference to the bears of N. America, we have ‘black bears’ which aren’t always black, and ‘grizzly bears’ which may appear in shades of blonde, brown, even black. I hope that helps! Seriously, we’re talking two different species -Ursus americanus (the black bear), and Ursus horribilis (the grizzy bear). Both should be considered as dangerous, especially if it’s a mother bear with cubs -they can be very protective/defensive. You want to keep your distance from either type of bear… maybe 50 m from a black bear and 100m from a grizzley, would be a safe minimum distance. Problems arise if you meet the bear in close proximity along the trail or in your campsite.

      They are always on the prowl for food, and human food/garbage will attract them. Keep food and edible garbage/toiletries in a bear-proof canister. Never attempt to feed them. Prepare your food 100-200 m from your tent, and don’t keep food or snacks/toiletries in your tent or pack overnight to the maximum extent possible. Food can be safely hung from a rope strung high (15′-20′) between two trees.

      The sight of humans is usually enough to scare a black bear away. I’ve chased them from a campsite by banging a pot/pan together, or just yelling at them.

      Black bears are about 2′-3′ high at the shoulders, and are about 4′-5′ tall when standing, and weigh 150-500#.

      Grizzly bears are more aggressive, and may approach you if they feel threatened, or if they smell food, or think you may have food.
      Grizzlies are about 3′-4′ high at the shoulders, and often stand over 6′-8′ tall. They usually weigh 200-700#, but may reach up to 1,200# in coastal areas. Grizzlies have a prominent hump over their shoulders, and a concave face.

      Black bears are very common and can be found throughout the U.S (including Alaska) and Canada.
      Grizzly bears can be found in Alaska, Montana, NW Wyoming, northern Idaho, possibly in Washington, and possibly but unlikely in NW Oregon. Grizzlies are also in British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon.

      A good, basic reference is the paperback, ‘Bear Aware,’ which is listed in the Reference section of this blog (there may be one or two others as well). If you are traveling on guided tours bears should not pose a problem. If you are hiking in wilderness areas, alone or in small groups, grizzley bears should be considered a potential threat- carry bear spray at a minimum, and know how to use it.

      Any of my posts in Glacier NP, or Bob Marshall Wilderness (Montana), Yellowstone and the Tetons (Wyoming), or Alaska, should have references to grizzlies.

  4. I doubt you left anything out Mike and it seems I have got all the info I want right here. Thank you for taking the time to jot this down. I will reference your blog posts for more. Cheers. Have a good weekend!

  5. ve3ips says:

    Ham Radio and the great outdoors is an excellent way to combine the two interests and stay fit! However, the snow structure lately has improved for snowshoeing as opposed to skating on top of the snow hihi

    • Mike Hohmann says:

      Snow has been good, just not enough in my areas. I’m looking forward to getting up on SHT (Superior Hiking Trail) along the North Shore of Lake Superior, in the near future. Cheers, John!

  6. Nice post! I’ve been out just about every weekend this year the snow has been great! Your pics from Frontenac remind me of the frozen falls we saw on the St Croix. Happy Trails! ~WP

    • Mike Hohmann says:

      The snow is always welcome, but there just hasn’t been enough this year… but it isn’t even March yet! We’ve got some weather moving in here the next couple of days, so my fingers are crossed! Thanks for stopping by, and return again soon.

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