Last Saturday I had planned to get in a three-mile snowshoeing trek with Beth after church. But I had forgotten that I had planned something for the Pathfinders that afternoon. Actually, it’s even worse than that – I had double booked two Pathfinder activities and ended up having to reschedule one involving a small number of kids.

The Pathfinder activity we ended up doing was to visit a church member who lives in an assisted living home with several other people who need assistance. We had made soap for them last month, but in the confusion, didn’t manage to give it all away (not by a long shot). Also last month, the church member we were intending to visit wasn’t there when we arrived. So we opted for a re-do.

This time I spoke to Bert the week before as well as that morning. He was happy we were coming, and this time he was there when we arrived. We sang a half dozen hymns and visited with the people who live there for 45 minutes or so, gave them the soap, and then left.

When I got home, I was so wiped out that I could barely keep my eyes propped open, so instead of snowshoeing with Beth, I took a nap. But come Sunday, we gave it a go after breakfast.

We walked down to Sandogardy Pond, and cut through the ex-forest on the way. That stretch is pretty difficult to navigate during the spring, as the loggers left a huge mess of limbs all over the place. It is literally a foot deep with brush left over from the logging operation. Penny loves going there though, as there are sticks aplenty. With two feet of snow cover though, it’s a lot easier to walk through it – assuming one is equipped with snowshoes (as we obviously were). I imagine it would be close to impossible to travel through that field right now without snowshoes, but with snowshoes, it was a snap – better than walking on the road (where we are treated to the constant clack-clack-clacking of snowshoes on the pavement/hardpack). That can’t be good for the snowshoes either.

When we got to the pond, we headed down to the creek that empties it and crossed a little snowmobile/ATV bridge. Penny hates that bridge and refuses to set foot on it. During the other three seasons, she will gladly wade through the stream, and I’m pretty sure she would have this time too (she made several feints in the direction as I rebuked here). I finally caught her and carried her over the bridge. The last thing I need is a hypothermic dog. It was only about 15 degrees outside, so even though she was more than willing to plunge into the stream, we decided to let the human do the thinking this time. Then we shuffled over to the railroad tracks.

These tracks are not used by trains in the winter, and are in fact, a designated snowmobile trail. We hiked up that for maybe half a mile, when Beth reported that she was just dying of thirst. I don’t know why I didn’t think to bring water, but there you go. We had none. I was not thirsty, but she insisted that she was. So we turned around and headed back towards the house.

Instead of crossing the creek at the bridge though, we detoured across the pond. That was pretty easy going for Beth and me, but Penny sure had a hard time of it, as the snow was deep, and she sank in with every step.

She eventually figured out what I’m calling a “weasel walk” – where she’d leap from one spot to another. It was only a hundred yards or so across that corner of the pond though, so she managed OK.

We saw several squirrels on our hike, and some mystery tracks. I don’t know if coons are active yet or not, but the prints sure looked like they could have been left by one of those. Or maybe skunk. Or mink. I really ought to compare the few photos I took to my field guides and then make a guess. I’d post them here, but I haven’t downloaded them off the camera yet. Yes, I am feeling that lazy today.

Because we turned around a little too soon, we didn’t quite make 2.5 miles. I wanted to take a three mile hike so I could claim the newly-minted Snowshoeing honor. Hopefully, the snow will hang around long enough for me to pull that off this winter, but I won’t get another chance for two more weeks.

When we got home, we were both pretty tired. Whoever said that early morning exercise would invigorate a person is nuts. I was not invigorated – I was completely wiped out! And it wasn’t even lunch time yet. I plopped down on the couch and Beth climbed into my lap. When I woke up, she was asleep there.

So even though I had a nice nap after my morning hike, I was still pretty tired! That tiredness stayed with me the whole day too.

Va is of the opinion that one should not engage in vigorous exercise just before bedtime, as the endorphins (or whatever) will prevent an easy passage into slumberland. Well, I say that’s nuts. My passage was plenty easy!

Now that the sun it still (barely) up when I get home from work, I do plan to tap my one maple tree that’s big enough to tap. Maybe this year I can get more than one pint of syrup out of it. And maybe if I can round up a couple more buckets, I can tap a few birch trees this year too. I have maybe half a dozen of those I could try. We’ll see what happens!