One Friday, Mom mentioned to us that we would go on a snowshoeing adventure at Blacktail Mountain for Winter Trails Day. Saturday morning we woke up to be greeted by Dad saying, “Good Morning, M&E, it’s the day of the big snowshoe adventure.” We got ready, and ate a breakfast of Cheerios and strawberries. At 9:00, we set out.
The family drove past Flathead Lake to Lakeside, Montana. We drove to Blacktail Mountain. The road was snowy, winding, and steep. Finally, about halfway up the mountain, we saw some people gathered around a trailhead. Dad asked if it was the place where the snowshoeing trip was starting. The man said yes, so Dad parked. We got out and started gathering our gear. Other people started to arrive. After everyone finished putting on their snowshoes, the teacher, one of the leaders, asked everyone to introduce him or herself. We noticed that one person had a camera with a long lens and wore the same brand of snowshoes as us. The group included a ranger, a teacher, a man and his son, a lady from the library, a newspaper reporter, a few more people, and our family. After the introductions, the teacher gave us a paper with a list for a scavenger hunt.
1. see rabbit tracks
2. make a snow angel
3. have fun outside in winter
4. feel the wind in your face
5. hear a bird call
6. see dog tracks
7. see deer tracks
8. taste snow
9. feel the needles on a tree
10. run in the snow
Dad had seen some unusual tracks, and inquired what had made them. The tracks looked like the print from a vine. The teacher suggested that a mouse made the tracks. After hiking along, we saw the tracks of a snowshoe hare.
We played “Red light, Green light” with the teacher and the boy. After playing that, we ran up ahead to the rest of the group. We heard the high pitched sound of a bird calling. The teacher guessed it was a chickadee. We also made snow angels. As we played games and checked the items off of the scavenger hunt list, the reporter was constantly taking notes and photos. “E” hoped that she would get to be in the newspaper.
We went on snowshoeing for a while until we got to a scenic spot where the teacher suggested we play Simon Says. The boy suggested that we play “I’m Going on a Bear Hunt” instead. It’s a memory game where everyone says something they would bring along on a hunt and must remember what the other players have taken. Dad said he would bring a watch. Mom said a hat, “E” said an emergency blanket, and “M” said a flashlight. These things are all essentials to bring. An emergency blanket can be used to reflect the light and help you get rescued in an emergency. It will also keep you warm. The watch is needed if you need to return from your bear hunt at a certain time. In emergencies it may be used as a signal device. A hat, of course, is essential to keep you warm in a cold climate.
We hiked farther on and then played Simon Says. The teacher suggested that we try cartwheels in snowshoes. “M” tried, but did not land on her feet. She fell down at the end of the turn. The teacher and boy did excellent full cartwheels.
We walked to where we were planning to stop. The reporter, the boy, “E”, and “M” all climbed up a snowy hill in snowshoes. Only the newspaper reporter made it to the high top of the hill. “E” was going to climb all the way to the top, but to her dismay, Mom and Dad made her come down.
We walked back down the trail, sometimes trudging slowly. We hydrated ourselves with snow. The reporter went up ahead and disappeared around a bend. As an interesting detour, the teacher, the ranger, the kid, and “M” went off the trail into the woods below. We walked along, feeling bored and tired. We finally saw a familiar landmark, a broken gate. It was not far up ahead. We decided that it was near the parking lot when we saw a car. “M” saw something with big ears in the parking lot. She decided it was either a deer or a dog with big ears. “E” saw the thing, and thought it was either a black dog, or a bear. At the parking lot, we saw that the thing was a dog.
The newspaper reporter was already there. After talking a little while in the parking lot, we were briefly interviewed by the reporter, Mike Richeson. Mike is the same reporter that captured the great shot of a Bohemian Waxwing with a berry in its mouth. It was his article where we learned about these lovely birds and one source of their food, the berries of the Mountain Ash.
We drove back down the road. There was an ambulance and two fire trucks going up Blacktail Mountain as we left. We never heard what they were going up there for. We went home and enjoyed soup and sandwiches as we relaxed and thought about all the fun we had on Winter Trails Day.
M&E were mentioned in their local Montana newspaper in an article about Winter Trails Day. “E’s” picture was in it too!