Ghetto Gaiters (Part Two)

Feeling less vulnerable under the protection of some trees, which we hope would act as shields should another avalanche occur, our talk turns more light-hearted: "So, how are your ghetto gaiters holding up?"

"Fine. They still work."

"Good." Pause. "That was crazy back there."

"Yeah. I am really sorry I didn't make us turn back as soon as we saw the first avalanche."

"It's okay, babe. Stop beating yourself up about it. If I had felt uncomfortable about continuing, I would have said something. Sure, I was concerned about the avalanches, but I wasn't scared. Well, not until we had one coming straight for us..."

For a brief moment, we share a laugh over our misfortune, or fortune, depending on how you look at the situation. You've got to laugh to keep from panicking, right?

Up ahead two figures are coming toward us.

"I'm glad I'm not the only asshole to try and hike this area," Isaiah mutters.

I begin thinking it's our duty to warn these potential victims of the imminent danger ahead. So, I ask Isaiah, "How do you say 'avalanche' in German?"

"I don't know, but it probably doesn't sound like 'avalanche'."

"Maybe I can say 'Achtung! Schneeball fallen!' or something like that." (Literally: 'Attention! Snowball fall'!)

As we get closer, I can see they're using the tracks we (Isaiah) had created earlier. 'You're welcome,' I whisper. Almost face to face, I can tell the first guy doesn't want to step off the path to allow us to go by, and I can see why. These two guys are both wearing jeans, sweatshirts, and sneakers. Although we've obviously been naive about how treacherous this hike is during winter, at least we are a bit more prepared with our attire.

I motion to the guy that I'll step off the tracks, into the powder, to let them go by. As I reach the second guy, I decide that my sucky German is much too inadequate to properly warn these people about the avalanches. I fall back on my usual question.

"Sprechen Sie Englisch?"

The guys confirm that they do, and I proceed to recount our brush with danger. They jokingly ask if I was taking a photo of the avalanche as it was happening.

"Um... no... we were busy getting out of its way!"

"Well, thanks for the warning."

The two guys journey on, and I comment to Isaiah, "Well, they go at their own risk now. If someone had told us from the beginning that they had to DODGE an avalanche, I think I would have turned back around."

Back at civilization, where we parked our car, the ominous signs that we failed to regard on our way to the lake begin to replay in my mind: the foreboding snowballs blocking our path, meticulously amassed in the shape of a river like some art installation; our casual discussion of an escape plan (hide behind a tree); and the matter-of-fact observation that the avalanches were slow-moving, which would allow us to safely get out of the way. What were we thinking? Apparently we weren't.

I am sure those two guys after us made it out fine, just like we did. Perhaps they like the adrenaline rush. As for me, I'll pass. In the future, if I want to hike in the winter, I shall be sure to stick to those areas designated for such activities.


  1. Wow that is scary. I am glad that you made it out ok. Do be careful! And perhaps invest in some snow shoes!

  2. Thanks! Yeah, I know. Enough is enough! We definitely need to get some snow shoes. Maybe we'll find used ones at the Brocki and we can be ready for next winter. For now - I am ready for SPRING!


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