Joanne Wiswell: Know the etiquette

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My husband and I went out late yesterday on one of our favorite backcountry trails. It was snowing, and we had to break trail on our cross-country skis. But it was worth it as we had a wonderful downhill run back to the car.

This morning, I awoke to a beautiful day - blue sky, glistening snow and a bit warmer than it has been lately. I thought, "I'll go back to the trail we made yesterday and enjoy this glorious day on the tracks we made." As I approached the trailhead, my heart sank as I saw a car parked there. "Please be cross-country skiers," I silently prayed.

As I began to ski, I was surprised and pleased to see that the other tracks were indeed made by snowshoers, and that they had made their own trail and left my tracks untouched. Finally, I thought, some snowshoers who understand the backcountry etiquette. But, alas, this only lasted for a couple of hundred yards, and then the snowshoers had walked on my ski tracks, totally obliterating them in the process.

The fun of cross-country skiing is to be able to kick and glide in the ski tracks. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to kick and glide once snowshoers have walked on the ski tracks.

I am a snowshoer myself - I enjoy the activity, but I am always careful to avoid any ski tracks that may exist on the trail. Since we are both backcountry non-motorized enthusiasts, please let's share the trails in a responsible and respectful manner.

Joanne Wiswell

Clark

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