snowshoeing Bend

72 Inches in 72 Hours

Saturday morning we woke up to sunshine and snow falling! I was glad it wasn’t raining. The flakes falling were light and fluffy. I turned on the gas fireplace (I loved that thing) and made us breakfast. Thankfully I packed a bunch of food for us. I love staying in places with kitchens!

 

Breakfast was bagel thins toasted with cream cheese and smoked salmon. We split a large navel orange and then got dressed in our snow gear.

From Sunriver it was only about 12 miles up to Mount Bachelor. The snow was heavy and covered everything in a blanket of sparkling white.

We parked at the Edison Butte Sno-Park and that’s where we went snowshoeing. The snowshoeing book I bought recently discussed this particular trail and recommended it. It was classified as “easy” and around 3.5 miles long total.

It was a popular place for snowshoers. There were a bunch of different trails and loops to choose from.

A few days before we arrived in Bend, Mount Bachelor got 72 inches in 72 hours! They even shut Bachelor down for a day or two.

There was SO much snow! I’ve never seen so much. It was fresh snow too–soft and deep, not compacted or frozen. We discovered quickly that we sank into the off-trail snow pretty much to our knees!

A trail had been forged in the fresh snow but the trail was narrow and barely wide enough for snowshoes. Michael struggled a lot because his shoes are bigger than mine. We set out on the trail. It was a lot of up and down hills. We trekked through the trees and were dwarfed by them. I love the Ponderosa Pines and how they look in the snow.

The sky was a cornflower-blue-gray but it was clear. It didn’t snow much while we were out there until we turned around.

I’m not sure how far we snowshoes on Saturday. We ended up turning around and doubling back instead of completing the loop.

The trail was getting very difficult and the snow was so soft we were sinking into it. We turned around. It was mostly uphill the way back.

We got back to the parking lot. I was feeling good and could have gone further on another trail but Michael’s hip was bothering him so we called it a day. It was better to cut it short and be able to snowshoe the next day than have him crippled!

Stats:
Time: 1:50
Calories Burned: 570
Distance: ? No idea–maybe 3 miles total?

We returned to Sunriver to clean up, change and eat leftover pizza for lunch. Then we went to downtown Bend to walk around and shop (mostly window shopping).

We also walked around Bend and Mirror Pond, then grabbed a beer (Boneyard IPA was my favorite beer of the weekend).

We went to Amalia’s for dinner. It was a Mexican place in Old Town. It was packed! The food was pretty good. I had a pork enchilada. I was good– I wanted to eat it ALL but I ate half and saved the rest! Go me! Michael got the chorizo and steak tacos.

We got back to our rooms at Sunriver and Michael went to bed. He was hurting pretty bad. I stayed up for a few hours editing my book by the fireplace. It was a great day.

QUESTION: What’s the most snow you’ve ever been in? 

Renting vs. Buying

If you’re not sure of a new sport like skiing, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing then renting the equipment is definitely the way to go. I’ve been snowshoeing every winter for about 5 years now.

The first snowshoeing expedition was in a group lesson with a guide and transportation up to Mt. Hood. It was a good first experience–while it was ALL DAY LONG and I was completely exhausted when I was done, it was still a great experience. As a group we all rented snowshoes together and were instructed on how to use them.

Last year I took Michael snowshoeing for the first time on Mt. Bachelor. We were in Bend for my birthday and I signed us up for a guided adventure through Wanderlust Tours.

That was also a great experience and they provided snowshoes. Again, excellent experiences.

Last year Michael and I went back to Bend with some friends and the four of us rented snowshoes here in Portland and took them with us to Bend. We did the Swampy Lakes Trail Loop without a guide. We had a great time and it was liberating being able to finally trek into the woods and snow without a guide.

Bend with Friends

There weren’t too many “incidents” on that self-guided trek. A few of us did have problems with our rented snowshoes, though. They were the MRS Denali type of snowshoe. In my opinion these are crappy snowshoes. The design is so poor on them.

I hope you can see what I’m talking about as I describe the flaw in the design. The reason the design is poor (and caused difficulties the last few times we used them) is because of the buckle system. The plastic buckles don’t stay closed.


I found the above photo online, it wasn’t taken by me. I didn’t think about taking the photo of the shoes last week. The buckle folds and sort of clasps but it doesn’t stay in the hole of the buckle. Plus, there’s a little plastic lip attached to the show where the buckle SHOULD fit into so it stays closed. It does not in this model. Especially if the plastic lip is broken (which ours were on the rentals).

These types of rentals are also big, bulky and heavier. Instead of this type, I prefer the lightweight aluminum snowshoes that have a looping strap.

Or shoes that have buckles that latch firmly in and don’t move would work too. Check out this excellent website for more descriptions on the different types (recreational/trek/back-country/racing) of snowshoes available.


Don’t let me discourage you from renting. Just make sure you rent the right TYPE of shoe.

Renting is a good thing. If you are still new to the sport it makes better sense to rent it a few times, go on guided and unguided treks to see if it’s even a sport you enjoy. If it is and you plan on going snowshoeing more than once or twice a winter–BUY.

Snowshoe rentals plus poles run between $10-15 a day. That’s not too bad honestly. For $20 a person you can spend the day tromping through the snow. Don’t forget the Sno-Park Passes. There are daily, weekly and yearly passes. In Oregon they run between $5-30.

So if you’re going to go snowshoeing once a year, renting is the best bet. If you’re going to go more than once a year I suggest buying. In fact Michael and I are now looking for snowshoes to buy. I will not rent them again after the last two experiences with bum shoes.

Snowshoeing on Bachelor

Snowshoes AREN’T that expensive either – under $100 for many models. Plus, if you buy from REI they guarantee their products completely; even if you use the product and something breaks on it they will replace it.

I hope this has encouraged some people out there to give snowshoeing a try!

QUESTION: Do you own or rent your snow gear?