top of page

Put Away the Snow Shoes

Pauline Nevins  December 1, 2021 - Auburn Journal

In the basement storage cupboard, tucked behind the folding chairs with cup holders, and the unused golf clubs and tennis racquets, were two sets of snowshoes. It was December, my daughter Tina’s birthday month. A snowshoe trip for two.

I found a snowshoe clinic online that advertised customers could “set their own pace,” and offered lunch. Besides sharing a day with my daughter, I hoped the class would inspire me to get more use out of the snowshoes I purchased years ago and used twice. Tina was excited to join me.

When I made the reservations, John, the instructor, offered me either an 8:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. session. Tina and I snorted at the 8:30 a.m. time. John called me as our train pulled into the Reno station. His schedule had changed. The 11:30 was out. He’d pick us up at 8:30.

John looked every bit the outdoor adventure type – Nordic features, fading tan, muscular – although he was carrying more weight than I expected – All the better to piggyback me down the mountain.

He nodded a polite hello to me. His face lit up when he spied Tina. My daughter, in her early 40s, is the only person I know who can look attractive first thing in the morning wearing a woolen snow cap with false pigtails. John informed us he was picking up a group of snowmobilers and Tina and I would ride with his partner, Darren.

A soft snow was falling when we arrived just above North Star in Lake Tahoe. Darren pulled up beside John’s minibus packed to the headliner with middle-aged couples wearing super-sized down jackets. There’d be a brief wait, John explained. He needed to organize the snowmobilers. Their rented vehicles were on a schedule. Tina and I exchanged sideways glances.










































ographer for the city of Colfax Monthly Newsletter to the list.

I knew the couple lived in Colfax, and when the devastating River Fire exploded Aug. 4, Dale and Alan were among the people I thought about. I asked a mutual friend, Helene, if she knew if the fire had affected them. Helene’s response was the reason I was so happy to see Dale outside The Local Café.

“How are you?” I asked Dale after our hug. “Better,” she said. Shielding her eyes from the sun, she told some of what she and Alan experienced following the River Fire. I stood by her seat, riveted.

“Would you be willing to share your experience with others?” I asked. I’d learned a lot and thought others would, too. A minor, but significant fact, was that the jars and boxes sitting on business and community counters, soliciting donations, actually go to those in need. I’ve dropped in a few coins and cynically wondered if the money reaches the stated recipients.





























































bottom of page