Do you have those friends who can so easily push you out of your comfort zone? I am an outdoor girl at heart, but I don’t always find those opportunities for myself. Which is why I am so grateful to the special people in my life who suggest a 2 hour car trip to Galena to spend the day outdoors playing in the snow. I made plans with Megan and Jen weeks ago, and added them to my calendar just like that. There was talk about doing an outdoor activity and since I don’t see them often, I have been super excited to hang out all week. Despite my typical need to plan every moment, my work weeks have been busy and exhausting, so it wasn’t until Friday night that I was able to touch base with my friends and talk about our day. The game plan…snow shoeing in Galena!
For once, the weather was on our side. I woke up Saturday morning to find a layer of light fluffy snow covering my car!
Jen and Megan drove out from the city to pick me up on our way out west.
There was lots to talk about as we made our way along the windy roads towards the Mississippi River. Galena definitely looked different compared to my last visit in fall 2011. It is such a cute little river town with restaurants and shops.
My friend’s found a local shop that rents cross country skis and snow shoes. The woman who worked here was so friendly and helpful. She fit us with snow shoes, and gave us a few suggestions for trails.
We decided to go into the woods overlooking the river.
Although we got a little lost, we found our way to the trail head, added multiple layers of clothing, and hooked ourselves into our shoes.
We started walking down a long driveway and although we had no idea which way to go, we found ourselves following an unmarked trail leading down into a valley. The woods were silent and peaceful, and the only other tracks in the snow were deer and bunnies.
The sun beamed down on the snow covered trees creating an awe inspiring 360 degree view of the forest.
We hiked up, down, over, and under creating our own trail along the way.
There were some steep hills to climb as we went trailblazing through the woods in Galena, IL.
When we found ourselves at a dead end, we turned back around and followed our tracks back towards the car. Along the way, we spotted an actual trail marker. Our first trail marker…opps! It looks like we totally missed the trail the first time and instead forged our own. Since we had a little more time before we had to return, we followed the actual trail for a little bit.
It amazed me that even this late in the afternoon, the trail was still empty. We were the first to attempt to descend the stairs in our big bulky snow shoes, which led to lots of laughter.
At the end of the day, we all had a BLAST snow shoeing and actively exploring this undisturbed forest.
As the sun was starting to set, we found our way back to the start where there was a huge lot of fluffy snow to play in.
And a gorgeous view of the setting sun!
It was breath taking, and the perfect way to end an exciting day!
The car ride home was nice and relaxing as we recounted the days events. I am so grateful for spontaneous road trips, close friends, and unmarked paths that always seem to put a smile on my face : )
Now, I just have to figure out how to get my hands on my very own pair of snow shoes!