Even more astounding is our statistical improbability in physical terms. The normal, predictable state of matter throughout the universe is randomness, a relaxed sort of equilibrium, with atoms and their particles scattered around in an amorphous muddle. We, in brilliant contrast, are completely organized structures, squirming with information at every covalent bond. We make our living by catching electrons at the moment of their excitement by solar photons, swiping the energy released at the instant of each jump and storing it up in intricate loops for ourselves. We violate probability, by our nature. To be able to do this systematically, and in such wild varieties of form, from viruses to whales, is extremely unlikely; to have sustained the effort successfully for the several billion years of our existence, without drifting back into randomness, was nearly a mathematical impossibility.”
-- Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell (The Viking Press, 1974)
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“Are we going to get much snow this winter?” Your guess is as good as mine. No one can accurately predict such things, although you’ll hear claims to the contrary.
Some winters we get a few inches of snow every now and then, and occasionally a big snowstorm, but often it warms up afterwards and the snow doesn’t last long.
When that’s the case during the winter months, and there’s either no snow or just a few inches on the ground, we hike as scheduled every Saturday and Sunday.
But when there’s major snow in the mountains for part or most of the winter – which was the case last year, and some other winters – we’ll be out snowshoeing!
Snowshoes have been in existence for at least several thousand years. They distribute our body weight over a wider area so we don’t sink deeply into the snow.
Modern snowshoes are lighter than ever and attach easily to your hiking boots via straps or buckles. There’s nothing to learn -- it’s just like walking in giant shoes.
So if you haven’t worn them before, there’s no reason to feel intimidated. When there’s sufficient snow, some or most of our hikes will be changed to snowshoe hikes (which you’ll hear about in weekly Updates or in special announcements).
Many of our members own snowshoes which they’ve used in past seasons. If you don’t have a pair, I’d recommend buying them now. Prices start around $100.
Some stores also rent snowshoes, but it looks like REI may be the only chain renting them this winter, and after a snowstorm they quickly run out of rentals.
Get in touch if you have questions about snowshoes and snowshoeing. If you like or love hiking, the odds are high that you’ll feel the same way about snowshoeing.
There’s no better way to get around on foot in deeper snow, or to enjoy the glittering splendor of the winter woods when the landscape is snow-covered.
No one knows how much snow we’ll get this winter, but even if it’s not a lot, chances are pretty good that we’ll be able to go snowshoeing on some weekends.
And once you own snowshoes, you’ll be ready to roll when the snow does come. Either way, consider joining us on some lovely winter hikes starting in January!