I am still tickled from our time this past weekend in the California Sierras as eleven Northern California Outdoor Afros participated in the annual Winter Trails Day by REI, coordinated by Outdoor Afro leader Rahman Batin and hosted by the co-op’s Sacramento market.
This was a cross-promoted MeetUp of Outdoor Afro, designed to help people learn through easy and fun lessons and demonstrations how to snowshoe and cross country ski. Participants were also exposed to brands that can help make these experiences comfortable. I was especially stoked to see our sponsor KEEN Footwear represented to compliment snowshoeing. Check out our photos below!
In the week prior to our trip, I had to make sure my ever growing younger children and I had the right gear. So with the help of our friends at Bay Area Wilderness Training, The North Face, and KEEN Footwear, we were exceedingly prepared with everything we needed to stay warm and dry in the snow.
After rustling up sleepy folks on Saturday morning, and filing them into my trusty truck loaded with snacks and gas, we drove up without a hint of traffic before dawn. Joining me for the ride was my Cal alumna Barbara Henry and her daughter Emma, who had never been exposed to the snow. Admittedly, my own younger kids had never experienced snow play before, (yup, the children of Outdoor Afro) so this opportunity was a perfect chance to try on a new outdoor experience. See, in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have to go to the snow, therefore the pursuit is not without a tremendous commitment of time and cash for things such as gear foraging, lodging, transportation, lift tickets, trail passes, and more.
It is no surprise that unless you cultivate the interest and passion for snow play, especially at a young age, it may not be a high priority for people who have other, and more accessible, outdoor/nature or sports options available closer to home. This is why the REI event was so cool – it allowed moms like Barbara and myself, to try on new activities that ignited a passion in our family we now know can bring us back to the snow again and again!
One of many inspiring parts of the trip was how we got to see snow for the first time through our children’s eyes. Many wide-eyed audible ooohs and ahhhs were heard from the back seat, as we climbed elevation with increasing snow visible on the side of the road along the highway, and caked on alpine branches and mountains.
3 of The Most Memorable Moments of our Trip:
1. Learning to cross country ski – It was a completely new experience for all of us, and we fell in love!
2. Observing wonder and passion – the children jumped into the snow as soon as they saw it and for five hours straight, never stopped enjoying it. It was so hard to leave!
3. The sunset on the drive home – it felt like one big validation banner for a perfect experience had by all.
Thank you REI Sacramento Market, KEEN Footwear, The North Face, Bay Area Wilderness Training, Outdoor Afro Leader Rahman Batin, and Sacramento REI’s Erin Harrington for coordinating the whole event – you all rock, and we will be back!
Do you play in the snow? How do you make it happen? What do you enjoy most about it?