Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Jan. 20, 2021

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Snowshoeing through Oregon’s Fall River trail


BEND, Ore. — More than 8 inches of snow in La Pine recently beckoned for a snowshoeing trip.

There are many sno-parks — Dutchman Flats, Meissner and Swampy Lakes to name a few — that are now open to strap into a pair of snowshoes and explore, but many of Central Oregon’s top hiking spots are available for snowshoeing.

So on this day, my parents, my dog and I went out to Fall River trail for a hike through the snow.

And the dump of snow came at a great time. My parents, Scott and Janet, were finally able test out the new snowshoes they received as gifts.

After picking up a pair of rentals for me from a packed Powder House, we were off for our hike.

Within a couple of minutes of arriving to the trail, my dog, Rodger, had sprinted to the river and jumped in. Such is the life of owning a Labrador. If there is water to jump into, he will find it.

At times during the hike, the snow might not have been deep enough, and the warmish temperature mixed with rain created a crunchy type of snow. While the texture was perfect for a snowcone, it was less ideal for a snowshoeing.

The trail had been tamped down enough where the snowshoes were not exactly necessary. The lone person we saw on our hike was moving along just fine on the trail with only hiking boots.

We would soon discover that moving a couple of feet off the trail, we could get that sinking, yet floating sensation that snowshoes bring.

On a day without snow, the Fall River trail is hardly a difficult hike. There are not a lot of steep climbs, and the trail is relatively short in terms of miles. But with snow and the added surface area of snowshoes, it’s a little more tiresome.

You have to pick up your knees a little higher to bring the shoes out of the snow, and doing simple maneuvers like turning around or stepping over a fallen tree is more difficult with the extra material with your feet. I may or may not have stumbled trying to step over a log when the heel of my shoe got caught in the snow.

While moving at a slower pace, we were really able to take in the scenery of the area, where the snow only added to its beauty. And the great part about the hike was that the windy Fall River was visible nearly the entire hike, which is always welcomed.

We finally reached the falls where we stopped for a little break, which for Rodger, meant another chance to go for a swim and to chase snowballs and sticks thrown into the water.

Despite the snow conditions being less than ideal for snowshoeing in mid-November, it is an activity I’m certain will only get better as more snow begins to fall in the area.