Saturday I ran through unbroken snow in my Dion running snowshoes over extremely hilly terrain with Scout. It was in the teens, very comfortable since I was working hard. We left from camp and headed into the woods with the goal of seeing where the trail went. The "trail" that starts at the corner of our drive is an old tote road, by the looks of it. It had about a foot of fresh snow on it and made for some excellent snowshoe running. I promised myself I would do an out and back to avoid the embarrassment of coming out in someone's back yard twenty miles from camp and having to call Kevin for a ride. That is the sort of thing that happens to me when I explore new trails. I hate to turn back. I just have to see what's around the next bend.
We ran mostly downhill for a few miles before hitting an intersection. I turned right and went up and down some ridiculously steep short hills before hitting a major snowmobile trail. I didn't know how Scout would behave around snowmobiles, as he had never seen one before, so I turned and tried the other direction. We went several miles, steadily downhill. Our camp is near the top of a small mountain, so running from camp always involves hills. I tell myself it's good for me! When I realized the trail was not leveling off but continuing to descend indefinitely, I decided it was time to turn back while I still had enough strength to climb back to camp. Running back up was a killer! By the time we made it back I was huffing and puffing like a 2-pack-a-day asthmatic.
The next day temperatures had plummeted below zero. I was going to cross country ski, but decided I would stay warmer on snowshoes. This time Kevin joined me and Scout. I wanted to show him the trail so he could give me some input about where I was headed and how I could turn this into some sort of long loop. Kevin has an uncanny sense of our position on the map no matter how many twists and turns we make in the woods. Using direction, topography, distant landmarks, and intuition he can usually give a pretty accurate account of our position. After checking out the intersection, he felt the left downhill option (that Scout and I started but turned around on Saturday) would probably work for some sort of long loop. He thinks it will join up with a snowmobile trail that comes out near the bottom of a dirt road I am familiar with and that will eventually take me back up the hill to camp. I'll try it next time I am feeling energetic and adventurous.