Floating on Snow in the Taos Backcountry
Winter invites a different kind of discovery because of the silence blanketing the ground, allowing us to see things we might not have noticed in other seasons. When the trees and land get covered in white, they highlight and illuminate the texture, form and shapes of nature in poetic majesty. I must admit, this is one of my favorite times of year to go out and explore nature. Bundling up just enough, in order to embrace the elements and see what the diamond sparkle of sunlight cast upon the fallen snow may help me uncover.
The beauty of snow offers different adventure activities you wouldn’t get in other seasons. It could be downhill skiing, where you ride the chairlift up to over 11,000 ft. in Taos Ski Valley in order to navigate the steep mountainous terrain from one run to the next. Or it could be silent afternoon walks with my dogs bouncing and wrestling together with happy hearts in light fluffy snow. But the best may be strapping on a pair of snowshoes, grabbing some poles, and traversing across deep snow with an activity as easy as walking.
Without wearing a snowshoe, you would otherwise bury your leg into the deep snowpack, potentially burrowing yourself waist deep and obviously making for a challenging, if not impossible, snow journey. But with snowshoes, you can wander deep into remote trails with many feet of snow and access breathtaking scenery, which would otherwise be impossible to explore.
How to Prepare for a Snowshoeing Excursion
Snowshoes are a footwear for walking on top of the snow and is similar to winter hiking. Snowshoes work by distributing your weight over a larger area so that your foot does not sink completely into the snow, a quality called “flotation.” So, there is a feeling like you are floating on top of snow.
The best shoe to wear is a waterproof boot, but you can wear gators which are durable waterproof outer protection to sustain harsh weather and keep snow from getting into your footwear. Clothing should be layered, with some type of breathable wear like capilene, or a quick-wick clothing. This allows your sweat to push through to the outer layer instead of saturating your clothing, adjusting for greater comfort and body temperature control. Once you get snowshoeing, your body will work up a sweat and you’ll want to quickly shed layers, therefore bringing a backpack offers the option to stow multiple layers and options of clothing as you warm up and cool down.
At high elevations it’s important to drink plenty of water and get enough electrolytes in your system to keep you feeling great and energetic. You’ll definitely want warm gloves, a warm hat, and a waterproof jacket (preferably not a down coat because it doesn’t allow for breathability), sunglasses or snow goggles, and an eagerness to embrace one of the best winter endeavors while enjoying the great winter outdoors!
We offer snowshoeing tours every Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 2:30pm. We meet in Taos’ El Monte Sagrado Resort on Kit Carson Road at 10AM and then transport you up U.S. Hill into Carson National Forest. There, you’ll explore beautiful Amole Canyon, a special designated snowshoe only area, tucked back from the road among Spruce, Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pines. For both novices and experienced, this terrain is perfect for a fun packed, yet tranquil, adventurous day.
Along the way, you’ll enjoy a guide provided gourmet pack lunch as well as a warm beverage. You’ll have snowshoes and poles, as well as instruction and technique advice by an expert guide, included in the tour price. If you need a waterproof boot, we can help you rent those.
Heritage Inspirations has special snowshoeing permits for these guided excursions and each guide is First Aid/CPR and Leave No Trace certified. So, don’t worry about logistics or unknown terrain because we’ve got you covered, leaving you to experience and enjoy a marvelous day floating on snow.
If you haven’t tried snowshoeing, or if you want a fun activity for the whole family, or an active outing with friends, join us on a guided tour in Carson National Forest and experience a whole new perspective on winter!