Sunday, January 24, 2010

5. Try snow shoe hiking

No doubt about it, this week's New Thing was easier (and a lot less cold) than last week's -- not that I'm complaining about either one. Today I did a new trail -- Nebraska Notch, which is a very small part of the much more extensive Long Trail -- in a new season (Winter) on snow shoes. As with last week's outing,the hike was sponsored by the Saint Mike's Wilderness Program. An added bonus this week is that I'm good friends with two of the participants, Josh, who was one of the Wilderness student leaders, and Connor, who I convinced to get up early on a Sunday morning to hike up the mountain with me. Both Connor and Josh are also avid travellers which meant that we could and did compare notes about all kinds of past and future travel destinations while hiking up and back from Taylor Lodge. (Josh should get some kind of award for figuring out how to visit 12 different countries during his last semester's study abroad in Denmark, while still managing to send home answers to my constant barrage of questions about the health care systems of the Scandanavian countries he was studying, as well as daily bulletins about the International Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen).

If you've ever walked, you can snow shoe. There's not much gear involved -- the snow shoes themselves, plus most of us were wearing special boots over our hiking boots, basically to keep our feet warmer. Most of the participants also used hiking poles, but they're optional, and given my personal aversion to extra gear, I chose not to. Beyond that, you just need to strap the snow shoes on, get used to walking with a little wider stance than normal, and proceed up your mountain trail.

Our route today was a four mile loop up-and-back from the trail head on the road to Taylor Lodge, where we took in the sights and snapped some pictures. Though there were a few steep-ish sections (where I learned that you want to kick in your toes to let the teeth of your snow shoes get good traction), the whole trek was pretty laid-back, and a very nice introduction to hiking on snow shoes. The Wilderness Program offers somewhat more rigorous snow shoe hikes, including up Mount Mansfield and Camel's Hump, the two tallest peaks in Vermont, and I am pretty sure I'll be doing a more challenging snow shoe hike before the winter's over. Basically, I discovered snow showing is for everyone, and if you're missing your summer hiking, this is a great winter activity. I've included pictures of the whole student group; our terrific leaders, Andy and Josh; a view from Taylor Lodge; a picture of Connor and I in front of the sign at the trail head; and a shot that Josh took of me while we were walking up. All Sunday mornings should be so fun!

52 Ways to Say I Love You

Danish: With thanks to Josh for the language lesson on the way up to Taylor Lodge!

Hej- hi (sounds like "hi")
Hej Hej- Bye (sounds like "hi hi")
Tak- Thanks (sounds like "tok")
Jeg elsker dej- I love you (sounds like "Yi el ska die")
Kan jeg få to øl tak? -can I get two beers, please?

Coming Attractions

Lots of New Things are on tap for February and the rest of January, and there are lots of places where I hope others will want to join in.

Take a ballet class. Class started last Wednesday evening at the Flynn, and I now know 1st through 5th positions as well as having become acutely aware that I'm no Maria Tallchief (Though actually, that wasn't exactly a shock). But now that I've started, I'll keep going for the rest of the semester with Crystal, and we'll see how it goes.

Learn to make fresh mozzarella. Mark and Valerie are still coming over to my kitchen on Thursday, January 28 at 5:30, when Mark will reveal the secrets of turning ordinary milk into one of my favorite foods, fresh mozzarella cheese. Anyone else want to learn, let me know.

Try a full moon snow shoe hike. On Saturday, January 30, I'll be strapping on snow shoes again to join the Wilderness Program for a snow hike at night. My friend and colleague Traci is planning on joining in. Anyone else?

Take a Penguin Plunge. Erin and I have joined the Saint Mike's team and will be jumping into the freezing cold water of Lake Champlain at 11 am on Saturday, February 6. You too, can sign up, or if you're feeling slightly less adventurous, be a sponsor!

Go ice skating at Rockefeller Center . Although I haven't decided for sure, I am thinking that the weekend of February 13-15 (President's Day Weekend) may be a good time to head to New York City for this one. If I do it by myself, I'll probably fly and stay with a friend while I'm there. However, if there are a few people who want to do it with me, we can make a collective plan for travelling down and staying for one or two nights. So if you're up for a couple days in New York City, featuring an ice skating session and possibly some other New Things, let me know. If I don't go that weekend, I will probably use the weekend to try both Alpine and Nordic skiing and plan the trip to New York City in one of the following two weekends.


  1. What a great way to end the weekend! I keep forgetting to tell you that I will let you know your phrases in Luganda when I double check the beers one.

  2. Will you stop being such a physical fitness nut!!! Why do you insist on making the rest of us look so bad???

  3. Hey, you only live once (at least if the monotheists are right, a proposition I'm less sure about since my trip to Nepal). You should find a sport you've never done (or haven't done in at least a decade) and spend a morning, afternoon or whole day doing it. The next day you'll be tired and sore and glad you did it. I promise. Plus, I double-dog-dare you both.

  4. Geez, here you go, the annoying self-confidence of the new convert (grin)! We're all in trouble.

  5. Trish! It's Emily McNally! From SGAC! I think I'll be at the Penguin Plunge with you!!

  6. Is there such a thing as a Sports-Grinch? Or would it be an Activity Scrooge? Don't worry, it's never too late to see the light.

  7. Hey Emily! THRILLED that we'll be plunging together. Don't knwo if it will be fun, exactly, but definitely memorable!

  8. Geez, my friend Andy "the Face" Burkhardt and I are already doing competitive chicken wing eating (albeit for charity) - you can't get more athletic than that!!

  9. Trish- this post really made me smile! You three look like you had so much fun...I'm a little jealous!