19-01-09 ARTS Snowshoe

Josh Johnson guides a snowshoe tour on Galena Summit last March.

Now that the busy holiday season has subsided, the halcyon days of outdoor winter activities are properly underway. The snow-covered slopes and fields of Idaho are once again host to hundreds of skiers, snowmobilers, snowshoe hikers and other adventurous outdoor enthusiasts.

The Idaho Conservation League is offering a trio of snowshoeing excursions in and around the Wood River Valley this winter, the first of which will take place Saturday, Jan. 12.

ICL staff member Josh Johnson will lead the guided tours, providing educational information on a slew of topics, all related to the environmental history, state and future of the Idaho wilds.

The first guided snowshoeing event will take hikers on a 2-mile walk across Galena Summit. Johnson, who has a master’s degree in geology and a background as a park ranger in the Tetons, will provide insights into the area’s glacial history and its geological formation.

That will lead into a discussion of modern climate change and the ICL’s ongoing efforts to preserve the landscape’s natural beauty.

The year 2019 is only the second winter that the organization has offered its guided snowshoe excursions, but following last year’s success and the popularity of a summer hiking series, these events could recur for years to come.

“We live in such a spectacular place and there are so many great opportunities to take people out and learn about the area,” Johnson said.

Since 1973, the ICL has sought to educate, engage and enlist the help of a pro-environment community. In short, and to quote the organization’s own unofficial motto, “Keep Idaho Idaho.”

This is a free event, though space is limited, so registration is required. Attendees are encouraged to dress warmly, bring water and food, wear sunscreen, sunglasses and sturdy boots and bring their own snowshoes. Snowshoe rentals are available from both Backwoods Mountain Sports and The Elephant’s Perch in Ketchum.

Though the hike itself includes limited elevation gain, it does begin at higher than 8,500 feet. Anyone who might suffer from altitude-related issues should plan accordingly.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, Johnson will again don snowshoes to explore avalanche ecology and snow science at Galena Lodge.

Finally, on Saturday, Mar. 30, he will guide snowshoe hikers on a Winter Ecology and Wildlife tour of the Billy’s Bridge/Prairie Creek area.

All three events are free and require advanced registration. To sign up, contact Emily Williams via email at ewilliams@idahoconservation.org or by telephone at 208-726-7485.

Load comments