[pct-l] Snow course report

Amanda L Silvestri aslive at sbcglobal.net
Mon Apr 6 20:24:54 CDT 2009

Wow!  It was beautiful out above Echo lake this past weekend.  Ned took us snowshoeing across two lakes and up into the mountains where we made our winter camp.  How nice to have this many people and no drunks playing the radio all night or cars driving around in the middle of the night look for camp sites.  People spaced out their camp sites and kept "hikers hours" at least for going to bed.  I must admit that I slept in latter on this trip than I do at home, and that was okay too.
We had a good opportunity to test our sleeping and cooking systems as the night dove down to 13 degrees.  I was toasty worm in three pair of socks a "O" Degree bag with a winter jacket wrapped around the feet.  Made it through in a 6 Moons Gatewood Cape, no problem there.  The weather was cooperative in that there were no major storms, just a little wind on either side of nightfall and sunup.  Upon breaking camp, several of us had to struggle to get our tent pegs out as the snow compressed and froze and milted and refroze.  Hint, don't use plastic bags for anchors.
Anyway, we did some navigation training on another snowshoe hike up to Aloha Lake,  So we should all be able to see a TOPO map in 3D now.  Blinkie and H.R. Huff & Stuff worked on a snow cave that H.R slept in the second night.  Blinkie Jr. (Stephen) was a big help in that endeavor.
On Sunday we all mastered the skills needed to self arrest (my local constable will be so pleased).  I particularly enjoyed sliding down hill head-first while on my back, Whee!  Many of us got to glissad for the first time, ski without skis and generally have a good time in the snow.  I had big lousy snow shoes that I got on sale and slid down a hill on the hike out, but was able to successfully self-arrest, so I guess the lessons were effective.  :)
Ned was a wonderful instructor, teaching us how to read the snow layers and determine the chance of avalanche.  His wife  and son came along and were quite supportive, either as cheerleaders or as a "rear guard" on the hikes.
H.R and Zelda & Tarzan, who along with Ned have completed through hikes were very open and free with dispensing the benefit of their experiences.
Even if I had not learned anything (and I did) it would have been a wonderful, fun weekend out in a winter wonderland.  Oh yea, don't forget the sun screen.  And when visiting the Sacramento area, say hi to mark and his wonderful family.  They put Scott and myself up both coming and going, drove us back and forth and feed us, Oh my God, did they?  What wonderful people!  
Anyway, Thanks Ned, and everyone for being so so much fun!
Amanda (Shepherd)

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