Packing tire chains is snow problem at all

The first photographic expedition of 2013 was east to Yosemite to play in the snow and take some pictures of majestic scenery while it's nice and snow covered... and to enjoy Yosemite while it's not loaded down with tourists looking for easy hikes.

Half Dome, covered in snow

The story starts with my wife (who speaks several languages) walking up to me while I dealt with the tire chains on the car and telling me she wished I spoke another language.

One should not be too afraid of the world that you fear the open sky, the silence of being alone in the wilderness, the sound of chirping birds, the look of un-touched fresh powder, and think exercise means going to the gym. Nonetheless, going progressively deeper into the outdoors requires a great deal of care.

Now, one factoid I find interesting and slightly frightening is that you can die of hypothermia in temperatures as warm as fifty degrees, maybe even warmer, if you end up wearing cotton in wet conditions. This is why, if you are going on an expedition in most situations, you should consider picking up some modern synthetic wicking clothing.

In the wintertime, you can die of hypothermia in all sorts of ways with astonishing ease if you are out in the wilderness. The problem is, once you've gotten past the stages of hypothermia, your brain stops working properly. And, unlike summertime, you may not actually have the option of stopping and camping overnight. And it's one thing to commute to work on a highway where eventually the cops will stop and call for a tow... it's another thing to go out into the wilderness in wintertime.

So, we head out with tire chains, extra warm clothing, food, etc. And some rental snowshoes, so my wife can try out snowshoeing. I've done it in the past, and I find it an amazingly fun way to get around and see interesting things.

Yesterday, all of the mountain passes into or out of Yosemite were on a R-1 level advisory, meaning that all vehicles must carry tire chains, and if you didn't have snow tires, you needed to have the chains mounted. No biggie. Chains, if purchased in advance, are generally only like $20-30 and don't take up much space...

My wife overheard the residents of one of the other cars talking about how the guard forced them to lie to him, as they were going out into the wilderness with no safety gear, so they lied about having snow tires and stuff and drove on. Which she had to wait until we headed out again to tell me.

After our trip... I suspect they probably "got away" with it.... this time.

Still, I don't see why we really celebrate Aron Ralston with the 127 Hours movie for going out into the wilderness like an idiot, without the requisite safety gear or even telling anyone about when to call the park rangers if you don't reappear by.


Snowshoe Magazine's guide for First timers.

I counted up my photographic and otherwise wilderness expeditions for 2012 and realized that I was way way way behind and needed to cause more trouble this year... I figured a nice snowshoe trip would be a good way to start things off right..

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