Goal: Snowshoe day hike to Cathedral Lake in South Lake Tahoe (typically 4.4 miles roundtrip on foot)
Reality: Made it somewhere halfway (hiked about 5 miles total)
When you have a destination in mind, it’s hard to not reach it. You’re looking at the map, and you know you’re close-ish but the sun is starting to drop and you forgot a lighter to cook your hot trail meal, so you’re hangry, and you know you just have to turn around.
That’s how it went on this day hike snowshoe trip a few weeks back. In the snow, the trail takes on a new life. It’s no longer where it should be. It winds around side to side, up and down. It’s longer. It causes you to truly trust those who came before you, hoping that they knew where the hell they were going (a trust that was broken the following day in an attempt to hike to Big Meadow off Rt. 89). Plus you go snail-slow on snowshoes compared to walking. These elements made it so that we’d hiked as long as we had time for, and were still at least 45 minutes from our lake goal.
But the frustration of missing out on your idealized trip quickly fades as the views and beauty come back into focus. You’re romping through pillows of white, and as your beaver-tale-of-a-foot plunges into the white powder, you find yourself floating, with few, if any, people nearby, and the glistening blue waters all around. We didn’t need our destination; we had already gotten what we came for.