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Young moms hit trails

“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” was Virginia Slims’ old advertising pitch to get women to smoke cigarettes.

Last week – thanks, in part, to a sin tax on smoking – some Nevada County teen moms came a long way on snowshoes with babies strapped to their backs.



That’s because Catherine Stifter and Janice Jacobson, two Nevada County part-time outdoors guides whose businesses cater to women, got a $900 “microgrant” in cigarette sin tax money to take teen moms from Silver Springs High School snowshoeing near Highway 20. Then, in May, the guides will take the teens hiking at Independence Trail.




The idea is to introduce young mothers to healthy, inexpensive outdoors activities.

And to make it fun. Both Jacobson and Stifter are from the hiking-and-snowshoeing-should-be-enjoyable school of thought, as opposed to the let’s-see-how-tough-you-are sort of experience.

So the teen moms didn’t come too long a way, last week. They snowshoed about a mile near Highway 20’s Omega rest stop on Tahoe National Forest trails which, because they’re on north-facing slopes, were still snow-covered despite shirt-sleeve temperatures.

Only one of the 10 teens had ever snowshoed before. Seven had babies with them, and the three who didn’t were pregnant.

“I am such a wimp. How am I supposed to do this and carry her?” one teen mom said in a mock whine as the hike began.

But they all seemed to have fun. Halfway through the outing, everyone sat down on tarps and Jacobson regaled the teens with an American Indian story about how Young Man Spring overpowers Old Man Winter.

Jacobson also told the teens that when her son – now a Nevada Union High School student – was an infant and was crying, “often times I’d walk outside and he’d quiet down. I just wonder if that’s a universal thing?”

Jacobson works as a physical therapist and lives in the Glenbrook Basin area.

Her business is called Mountain Rose Adventures and offers outdoor retreats for women and families.

Stifter, works as a National Public Radio producer and lives on the San Juan Ridge. Her guide business, Backcountry Tracks, specializes in “human powered” wilderness trips.

The two friends team up for some trips and also work on their own.

The cigarette sin tax grant that paid for the outing was awarded by Nevada County’s Children and Families First Commission. Snowshoes were provided by Wolf Creek Wilderness and Mountain Recreation. Baby carriers were lent by folks involved in the North San Juan head start program and by Jacobson’s co-workers at Spring Hill Physical Therapy, Acupuncture and Pilates.


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