After bidding our heated tent-cabin adieu, we had breakfast, and then drove up to Badger Pass, a small ski area in the park where they also rent snowshoes.
We all got suited up, and started towards Dewey Point on the recommendation of a park ranger. There are two ways to get to the point, one harder one easier, but the harder route forked off first, and everyone seemed cool with that. What did we know? So off we trudged into the forest.
As promised, it was a beautiful, diverse hike, with lots to see and photograph along the way. The snow was at least two feet deep. Aside from the well-trodden trail, it felt like we were very much in the wilderness, very much on our own. But it was also pretty hard going, with lots of ups and downs and twists and turns.
Given that we had to get the snowshoes back by 4, we were all well aware of our turnaround time—but it created a dilemma: how hard do we push ourselves, how far do we go, would we make it to Dewey Point? I did my fair share of cajoling, but once we reached that turnaround window, and with a reasonably expansive view in front of us, we all stopped to prepare the dinner we had conveniently been unable to enjoy the night before. Hot dogs never tasted so good!
Turns out Dewey Point was just a few hundred feet ahead (we learned from some cross country skiers), so we headed down for a quick look-see before beginning the trek back. The hot dogs were a great reward, but actually reaching our goal and standing on the edge of the world made all the difficulty getting there seem worth it.
By then we really had to get moving back. I was a little worried about the rental office closing on us, but we managed to reduce our return time by taking the less-strenuous meadow trail back (yay, a loop!), which we were all very glad for. It was still really freaking hard, and harder still knowing we had to get back at a specific time. But we all made it—and just in time.