One of my favorite things about Hoks is how they disappear when I take them out in the snow. Disappear? Let me explain. The Hoks are easy to ski on, so do not require a lot of attention during a good winter wander. Many types of skiing demand almost constant attention. Ski technique can require precision and focus to get your skis working right and behaving properly. A lot of the more recent gear innovations work well in a narrow set of circumstances but require quite a bit of adjustments and fiddling along the way. Modern backcountry gear completely separates the up from the down, discouraging any spontaneous digressions. Hoks let me click in and go, allowing me to let my attention and focus stray to things unrelated to my skis and skiing.

I ski the Hoks exclusively with a tiak (single pole) as it is much easier for any down skiing and at worst a wash for general travel. The tiak also appeals to my perhaps over developed desire for minimalism, two poles being one more then you really need. With at least some of my attention freed up from skiing (along with one hand) I notice a lot more, and with my ability to be spontaneous – up down and around all being equally accessible – I find I am more observant. I also really enjoy taking pictures, something that aligns well with being able to let my attention wander. Last year and this year I started discovering and seeing more in various tracks, ski tracks, animal tracks, tracks left by wind and sun and shadows. There’s a lot out there.

So here is a collection from this year and a few from last year. I will probably add and edit this over time. A lot are from skiing on Boulder Pass, which had a big and hot fire rip through in 2015, leaving large areas burned to various degrees. Sad to see these big old trees die, but in the winter the light and shadow as well as the contrast between white snow and blackened (now browning) trees is quite magical. Some of these are also from the Sherman Pass area and some are from around my home. They are all from my winter wanders on Hoks.


2 Responses

  1. I love your pictures, Nils. Even the ones taken with a drone. “Wandering in Shadows”, your track at an oblique angle to the shadows but similar to the more random angles of the trees, evokes a sense of wandering away from home. “The Track Leads Home” is sweet contrast.

    Andy says you may be able to talk briefly Sunday evening. I’d like that.


  2. PS …even the ones taken with a drone. My attempt at humor. I just finished reading Andy’s article on your ski trip together years ago in the Yosemite area.

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