Unique Way to Enjoy Sequoia National Park

December 22, 2008 2:13:16 PM PST
Traditional wooden snowshoes may evoke images of fur-traders, but they can also provide the means for a fun and perhaps more importantly free-getaway.The beauty and serenity of sequoia national park offers a winter escape free of crowded ski lifts.

"You can get out here and be alone with your thoughts. You can have time to contemplate."

And time to think about trying something totally different.

"I came up here for a relaxing two days. Now I gotta go on a hike heheheh."

The back country's frozen in time just like these racquet-shaped snowshoes.

"Yep, these are the old fashioned kind."

Park Ranger Dean Butterworth told me putting on these snowshoes would be the toughest part of our trek.

"This is a very important part of the snowshoe, the part that I'm looking through right here, this is called the toebox."

It's there to help you dig your toes into the snow. Your boots need to be securely strapped in.

"When you walk don't walk like Frankenstein okay. Just a normal gait will do it."

The sound of snow crunching under your feet serves as nature's soundtrack.

A few steps into the giant forest takes you into another world.

Out here in the wild you can follow fresh coyote tracks.

Remember Bill Caldwell? He was the guy who wanted to relax instead of taking a hike.

Bill found this to be an unforgettable experience.

Bill Caldwell, Modesto: "To me it was just getting on the snowshoes and going through actually what looked like untouched wilderness out there."

Caldwell believes Sequoia snowshoeing should have been on his list of "things to do" alongside trips to Niagara Falls and the Great Wall of China.

Dean Butterworth, Park Ranger: "it's outside of their experience so they want to come to the snow. I hear that expression a lot. Let's go to the snow and when they get up here I think they're really moved by how beautiful it can be."

While it can be difficult to walk in the snow in your boots, snowshoes offer more traction and allow you to make your own trail.

"Sometimes when you're slipping and sliding it might be easier to just get out of the track."

Sometimes you just want to get on the fast track to see how quickly you can tromp through the snow.

These walks though are best enjoyed when you slow the pace after all the sights are enough to take your breath away.

"It was very quiet in a lot of places that was lovely."

Dea Meyer, Santa Paula: "I loved it. I wasn't sure how it'd be balance-wise but it was actually very easy. You didn't have to really change your stride a lot."

Dea's husband, Tim, says people in the Valley don't realize what they have in their own backyard.

Tim Meyer, Santa Paula: "Most people are really intimidated by it. They're very much afraid of the snow. They're afraid of getting cold and wet but it's really just a matter of preparation."

Weather conditions up here can be unpredictable so having a ranger with you is recommended.

It's easy to lose track of time and direction in such a beautiful place.

To enjoy a free weekend snowshoe walk in sequoia you must first make reservations.

The number is 565-4480.

The snowshoe walk is free but it does cost $20.00 to drive into the park.

Groups normally number 21 people.

Butterworth says snowshoe walks should be available through April as long as there's interest and of course snow.


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