Winter Wonderland Adventures with the Naya Nuki

Published 2011-05-04

Snowshoeing up to Fairy Lake with friends Nathan and Tim, along with two snow-loving and energetic dogs, Cassidy & Mac, we headed straight into the face of the Chinook winds. I was glad to have the Naya Nuki pack upon my back keeping me warm, while also holding snacks & electrolyte drinks to keep me fueled for the long 4-hour trek ahead. The wind-swept snowy road led us on a gradual hill climb winding our way towards the lake with views of both the Crazy mountains & jagged peaks of the Bridgers. Stopping for a brief lunch break among a stand of trees, I was thankful for the momentary break from the gusty gale. Sweet & sturdy Cassidy took shelter behind the resting Naya Nuki, which acted as a perfect wind block for her medium dog sized body. Just a short drive north of town, the Bridger Mountains frame the backdrop of the Bozeman, Montana skyline. An outdoor person’s year round playground, I was very excited about exploring the snowy trail to Fairy Lake that brought us closer to the heart of the range. A range of many peaks for which a few of our Mystery Ranch packs are named.

The Naya Nuki pack, a sister to the Saddle Peak, being slightly shorter in height & named after the 9,449 foot tall peak adjacent to Sacagawea peak, is as tough & rugged as the brave girl who the pack is also named after. As the legend goes, Naya Nuki, a young Shoshoni girl, was a close childhood friend of Sacagawea. Both were kidnapped by a hostile tribe & forced into labor, but through her strong determination & will Naya Nuki escaped her captors & made the 1,000 mile trek back to her tribe. As we continued our snowshoe journey, I was reminded of how variable & tough winter weather conditions can be in the mountains of SW Montana. It is wise to expect anything & be able to brave whatever comes your way, with a solid pack, like the Naya Nuki on your back.

Earlier in the winter on a trip down to Jackson Hole, WY to visit a dear friend, Corrie, I found that the Naya Nuki is also the perfect snow pack for long distance classic skiing. Our journey around the valley on classic skis & skate skis took us up Cache Creek, Teton Canyon, & then a full day traversing the inner park road in Grand Teton National Park where we did a point to point ski from Signal Mountain to the Bradley/Taggert trailhead in the shadow of the snowcapped Tetons. On this trip the pack carried a full Camelback, snacks and an extra jacket, along with my camera in the side waist belt pocket. The slim-lined pack hugs close to your back making it great for balance when on classic or skate skis as well as many other active sports. It wraps comfortably to your body & the weight is distributed well so that after many hours on the snow, I hardly noticed that I even had a pack on my back. I realized that, once the pack was on my back, I never had to adjust or fidget with it during the long ski traverse.

Even for a quick couple hour Sunday classic ski jaunt in Hyalite Canyon, the Naya Nuki works well for short adventures. On this particular exploration ski day, the pack was lightly filled & still made for easy mobility on the uphill & downhill whoop-de-dos. The next weekend was a long distance roundtrip journey to Mystic Lake & back, up Bozeman Creek & the pack was filled to the brim holding snacks & extra jackets for the long day excursion, where the pack was shared & worn between my sister, Mimi, & I. I have been pleasantly surprised with how versatile the Naya Nuki has been for various snow adventures this Winter. The pack is so aptly named & is the perfect pack for any distance or weather that comes your way during the long Montana Winters!