The good folks at Crater Lake National Park here in Oregon offer free (you read that right — free!) ranger-led interpretive snowshoe walks every weekend at 1:00 p.m. from now until April.
Expect the weather to be unforgiving, even if it permits.
Expect the wind to chill your core and the snow to lash your face. Expect freezing rain and fog. This is what is known as “permitting.”
Wear layers, and waterproof boots, and at least two pairs of socks.
Bring sunglasses if snow glare bothers your eyes. And something to eat since the Rim Village Café may or may not be open.
If Rim Road is closed you’ll snowshoe through the forests near the Steel Information Center.
There’s a post office in the Steel Visitors Center. And a stuffed bobcat. And stuffed otter. “Poor otter,” my 7-year-old and her friend kept murmuring. There are also lava rock books made in China, and helpful rangers happy to see a sign of humanity. They live at Crater Lake in the winter. How can any human live there? The voles and pikas burrow in the snow, in the subnivean layer deep underneath. It’s a harsh place.
You’ll find out when you go snowshoeing there.
You’ll fall and freeze and flip snow into the faces of the people walking behind you. If you wear sneakers, like my husband, your toes may fall off.
It will take a thousand hours to drive home and your kids will bicker in the car. But it will be worth it. Every frigid second.
They even do the walks in April, when the snow pack is at its highest. But if you go now you get extra points for being tough.
Read the Oregonian travel article with all the specs about family snowshoeing at Crater Lake here.
And if you’re interested in skiing around Crater Lake, you can find my Oregonian article about that here.