On fairly short notice, my friend Chris and I decided to do a little winter snowshoeing and camping out on the property. Sure, we really could have gone anywhere, but to what purpose? In heading out to the property, we faced the challenge of navigating a few miles of deep snow and some fairly rugged terrain, and I’d get a better look at what the lot looked like in winter, Chris too. During the previous trip, and with overcast and nearly blurred vision from overexerting myself, I really didn’t get a chance to enjoy the surroundings. This trip, we’d be camping and scouting around. Chris was interested in predator hunting and if he could call in some of the overpopulated coyotes.

Chris practicing predator calls early in the trip

Chris practicing predator calls early in the trip

If memory serves me correctly, we headed off on a Saturday afternoon, snowshoes on foot, a small pack on my back, and Chris hauling a sled with gear. For a while on the well-packed snowmachine trails, it almost seemed we’d be better off without snowshoes. They were cumbersome, but did offer extra traction to keep forward motion.

Snow makes hauling supplies far easier than in summer

Snow makes hauling supplies far easier than in summer

Not far on the trail, a couple of other Trapper Creek Glenn property owners that we had met in the parking lot came cruising along on snowmachines while hauling in lumber and supplies for a cabin of their own. It’s not located near my property, but anyone in the the Glenn could be considered a neighbor. We waved them on a I as usual shot a couple photos. That’s how it’s done out here ladies and gentlemen, snowmachines and disregard for the temperature.

Moving on, and similar to my ski experience, we had some rough going through the rugged forest once off the trail. Deep snow impeded our progress, and so did Chris’s sled full of gear. I broke trail, trying my best to jam the snow down packed so that chris would pull with ease and not fall through, but but efforts didn’t always do the trick. He sank in plenty of places. I guess it doesn’t make sense for the lighter guy to do the trail breaking. Even still, it was far easier then my previous skiing trip in.

We reached the property at dusk, perhaps just in time to set up camp. In fact, we did most of our work in the dark, in the shade of trees that blocked out what little skylight was left. We started by getting warm clothes on, knowing we’d get cold fast in the quickly decreasing temperatures. Next came stomping a wide circle of snow down in order to have firm ground to walk on and set the tent up. After setting up the tent, only mildly challenging with gloves on, all that was left was to get the sleeping bags out and cook up some grub before dozing off. All the while each of us tended to our finger to keep them warm while working. Personally, once my fingers get cold and painful, I have a heck of a time recovering. It’s best to prevent any major heat loss.

Winter morning in Trapper Creek Glenn

Winter morning in Trapper Creek Glenn

We woke the next morning to a beautifully clear day and had just a little time to look around before packing up. I was thinking about how nice it would be some day to be out there in a cabin, able to wonder around and enjoy the snow without having to rush or be concerned with freezing to death.

I've estimated snow on the property to get around four feet deep

I've estimated snow on the property to get around four feet deep

After a few photos and some breakfast, and knowing how long it would take to get back to the parking lot, we started making our way back.

As before, we chose to follow the small creek north of the property back to trapper creek and on from there, past the cabins and on to the main trails. Taking that small creek seemed like a good idea, and it was for the sake of less inclines and declines, but boy was the snow ever deep. We pushed and sank, climbed out and sank again, then finally got on higher ground and sturdier snow, free from underbrush and fallen trees that created week places in the snow that were easy to fall through.

Past the cabins on the other side of Trapper Creek, we took a break. Overheating from the laborous traveling, I thought I’d try a cold beer that never got used the night before. My Coors was a slushy, unable to poor out of the opening. I wasn’t discouraged though. My trusty Gerber pocket knife came out, lightning fast, and I cut the can at the center to have a try of beer slushy. GOOD! It was really good. I shared a little with Chris who also agreed, although surprised, that it was good. After finishing off most the can and catching a good break we continued on, and soon found ourselves back on a packed snowmachine trail.

Sunken in soft powder with a clear Denali (Mt. McKinley) in the distance

Sunken in soft powder with a clear Denali (Mt. McKinley) in the distance

That day was one of the clearest I’ve seen to date, and Denali was magnificent. Not more than 2/3 the way back to the highway, we stopped for a long look and some photos, then finished the trip and headed home to Anchorage.