Imagine it's a clear winter day and you are crunching through snow that sparkles like a million glittering diamonds. Your shoes and carefully aimed poles shatter the frosty crust of snow and plunge into the softer, lower layers.

You pause for a moment to admire the view; below you sprawls all of Ashland, the valley a pool of fog, looking like a bowl of milk.

You are snowshoeing on Mount Ashland. Miles and miles of trails snake through this backcountry including the Pacific Crest Trail, a legendary route that carves through mountains from Canada to Mexico.

Trails are clearly marked, yet they feel completely rugged and remote. Thick, picturesque forest, awe-inspiring formations of frozen ice on trees and other scenes are mostly absent of people, which makes it great for wildlife-watching.

As alternatives, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing terrain more popular with people and dogs is at the end of the Mt. Ashland Ski Area parking area, and the road to Pilot Rock offers areas of thick snow, making it more of a workout than a stroll through the woods.

You can rent snowshoes at the Ashland Outdoor Store, 37 N. Third St., 541-488-1202; Ashland Mountain Supply, 31 N. Main St., 541-488-5402; and Kokopelli River Center,2475 Siskiyou Blvd., 541-201-7694.

Be sure to wear layers of clothes, bring lots of water and don't forget your sense of adventure.

Amelia Covert Zeve, 14, is an Ashland-based writer and wilderness enthusiast who attends Ashland Middle School. Contact her at

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