Editor's Note: Free-range Snowshoeing

December 29, 2015

Beauty by the snowdrift stood

By Kris Parfitt

Photo at right: The author, at Gold Creek Lake near Snoqualmie Pass, expresses her enthusiasm about snowshoeing. Photo by Amy Groncznack


We live in a fantastic and beautiful region. Our landscape weaves together deep water, fertile basin and extraordinary range. I’ve lived in Seattle for over 12 years and there has yet to be a day when my jaw hasn’t dropped from a vista or scene that rendered me speechless from phenomenal beauty.

It’s no wonder our region boasts a plethora of outdoor enthusiasts. Who wouldn’t want to be out experiencing the unparalleled beauty the Northwest offers?

Every day of the year presents a memorable scene to experience — the vibrant slow-motion explosion of autumn, the long anticipated layering of snow in the winter, the contagious spread of spring wildflowers, and the abundant adventures of summer.

My favorite winter activity is snowshoeing. When thick blankets of snow cover the salal, Oregon grape and salmon berry undergrowth, I have access to more intimate places in the forest.

I call it “free-range snowshoeing” when I can meander off-trail through a forest thick with fresh powder and experience the trees and wildlife from a different perspective.

There is an exquisite movement of spirit when standing among old-growth firs listening to the snow fall, my breath the metronome to the warble of the birds, interlaced with discovering the snow-stamped prints of deer, fox and rabbit as they hunt, gather and prepare for winter.

I wrote the following poem after one of these snowshoe sojourns. May it inspire you to take an adventure and experience your own moments of profound beauty this winter.

Feral Hearts

Beauty by the snowdrift stood
Gaze brought upward to the sky
Life feels balanced all is good
Winged grace shows where angels lie

Alive the forest comes to be
As pumphs of snow fall all around
Freed boughs lively dance the tree
While rabbit tracks sneak round the mound

The crunch of snow resists the feet
Flit the chickadees do go
Snow and skin and sun do greet
As feral hearts beat sound and slow

Enjoy the beauty this season,
Kris Parfitt
email Kris here

Click here for info about snowshoeing around Gold Creek Lake from the Washington Trails Association.

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