Out on the snow covered frontier
The air was light and crisp on an early Saturday morning on NIC campus. A shuttle bus sat waiting in front of the SUB, its engine growling as it let out plumes of exhaust. Members of the American Indian Student Alliance Club and Latino Club all shuffled into the vehicle away from the cold. The bus shifted into gear and began its short journey, east of Coeur d’Alene towards mountains covered in a fresh blanket of snow.
“Has anyone here ever been snowshoeing?” asked Evanlene Melting Tallow, the American Indian Student Adviser, looking in the rear-view mirror at all the students sitting in their seats.
Only a single hand was raised. The rest of the members of the group were foreign to the winter activity.
On Febuary 23 the handful of NIC clubs went on a trip to Fourth of July Pass in an effort by Outdoor Pursuits to build awareness for the program. The trail taken made its way through a scenic path covered in a thick layer of powdered snow, crossing multiple bridges and waterfalls.
“I’ve never been snowshoeing before,” said Amanda Johnson, a social work major, “But doing stuff like this with the club definitely makes me want to get outdoors more often.”
The thoughts were unanimous with the other students. Leaving behind their regular urban environment for several hours, they all took to the solitude of nature and enjoyed their time together, laughing and playing in the snow.
“It’s important in my opinion for everyone to be outdoors,” said Jon Totten, the Outdoor Pursuits coordinator, “It’s healthy for you.”
Outdoor Pursuits comes into the picture for people who are unable to participate in activities such as these due to financial issues, an inability to access the resources, or a lack of transportation.
“We want students to take advantage of the natural environment we have living in Northern Idaho,” said Totten. “What the Outdoor Pursuits program does is make it real easy to get involved in the outdoors, whether it’s on their own, taking a class, or going on a trip with us.”
After trekking over a mile, the group turned around back towards the trailhead. A swaying fatigue could be seen in each person’s steps. Everybody was growing tired and hungry.
“The main safety precaution people have to take with snowshoeing is to eat and drink enough,” said Totten. “Snowshoeing is significantly harder than hiking and people can become dehydrated easily.”
Finally returning to the bus, a collective sigh of relief was heard from all around. Muscles aching, everybody helped themselves to a sandwich and granola bars to help replenish the energy they lost while out on the trail.
“I had a blast,” said Corrine Ready, the sole snowshoeing veteran, “I’m glad I could finally get out there and have fun with my friends.”
Though it may seem tough, “Snowshoeing is an easy and versatile sport that’s accessible to everyone,” said Totten. “If you can walk you can snowshoe.”