If you've never tried snowshoeing, what are you waiting for? And if you have? Well, like we said, what are you waiting for?
With apologies to Robert Frost, conditions for stopping by woods on a snowy morning are ideal this month, with temperatures warm enough that you may not even need gloves. You'll have to use a little ingenuity, however, if you'd like to enjoy the company of Rocky romping (legally) off-leash at your side in the Lake Tahoe area.
The easiest (and by far the cheapest) way to go is to purchase a Sno-Park
permit ($5 per day, $25 per season) that allows you to park and play at 19 locations in the Sierra Nevada, most of them around Tahoe.
It's amazing how much privacy a little forethought can buy: Last weekend, for example, our DogTrekker scouting team passed one full public parking lot after another before pulling into the Taylor Creek Sno-Park near Camp Richardson. There, less than half a mile from the crowds, we found easy parking at a spot where families were playing in the snow, skiers and snowshoers were strapping on their gear, and dogs were bounding everywhere.
On that same otherwise busy Saturday, the Blackwood Canyon Sno-Park between Homewood and Sunnyside on Highway 89 was occupied by just four vehicles other than our own. We packed water and snacks, took off into the woods and enjoyed watching the dogs leap like rabbits as they tried to fetch snowballs. After so much exercise it was ever so hard (for us humans) to stay awake on the drive home.