Echo Summit Snowshoe Day Hike


While the morning was wet and gray in Sacramento, we didn't let it dampen our spirits as we prepared for our day on the mountain. Our anticipation only increased as we headed up Highway 50 toward the summit. The dripping rain turned to wispy snowflakes as we gained elevation and the snowdrifts built up along the roadside.

As the van made its way into the parking lot, we all marveled at the winter scene unfolding in our midst.

Our group assembled for a quick briefing on the rather simple use of snowshoes, and we packed our lunches in daypacks, along with extra gear for the day's adventure. Bathrooms and the snack shack in the parking lot made it an ideal starting point for the trip as we prepared for our trek.

We took the trail leading right from the parking lot into meadows and the lightly forested terrain of this part of the mountains. Our route took us along a rolling path with a couple of feet of new snow covering the ground. Our group included beginners and some with experience, and we settled into a modest pace. The group made our way into open glades and through tree covered creek beds, frozen for the season, still and silent as only a winter day provides.

The sun made a tiny appearance and the snow ceased just as lunch was the topic for our friendly group as we walked. We stomped down a section in the snow, some carved out more elaborate seats, and we all found a place on our insulated pads for a picnic and rest.

The depth of the snow gave us a challenge as we moved through the day, providing everyone who wanted it a chance to break the trail. Others made snow angels, and soaked in the natural beauty, following in the trod footsteps made by the leaders. It also gave us ample opportunities for extraordinary snapshots of the winter wonderland--and a few epic snowball fights for the adventurous.

We could hear the calls and laughter of kids on sleds near the parking lot as we headed back to the van. We concluded with a little hot chocolate and huddled over stories of the day. For some it was the first excursion to the snow and hiking, and for others it had been a renewed connection to a special season and place. For all it was a brief trip to the striking beauty and glory of the mountains in winter, meeting new people and sharing the day.

Submitted By Tom Higgins


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