This winter the conditions for snowshoeing have been just right. Lots of good snow and cold temperatures which has encouraged me to snowshoe a lot. Near where I live, we’ve created a solid trail that runs about two miles from start to finish. Whenever it snows, I try to be the first one on the trail, before the deer or the small band of elk that roam through our property have had a chance to use it and poke holes into our otherwise perfect track.
My Sorel boots are showing a little wear and tear where the boot meets the toe clip and today my lower legs felt sore from hiking up a steep hill. I had to rest at the top, throwing off my fleece hat, and gloves, and take a couple of deep breaths.
“Who needs a gym?” my husband shouts from a few yards ahead. “I’m sweating.”
It made me think about my Canadian ancestors who snowshoed all winter long in most likely much harsher winters and much deeper snow. I was fascinated to learn that the first people who migrated over the Bering Land Bridge used snowshoes. Later, the Athapascan indigenous peoples of the northwest coast and the Algonquin indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes area perfected the traditional lace-frame snowshoe: the pointed upturned toes with a tail, the longer shoes for tracking in deep snow, and the oval snowshoe for use in thickly wooded areas. I don’t think they had a problem with staying in shape.
In my youth, my first snowshoes were made of birch wood and laced with moose hide. They worked great in very cold temperatures but if it warmed up at all, the moose hide would become soggy, causing the hide beneath my boots to stretch, and making the snowshoes heavy and burdensome to lift. Today my snowshoes are made from lightweight aluminum, plastic, and other synthetic materials with a metal cleat for gripping snow and ice. I can lift them easily and there are moments, like today, after a fresh snowfall when the sun is out creating fields of diamonds glistening on the frozen landscape, that I feel young and carefree. No worries. All I’m thinking about is putting one snowshoe in front of the other, my heart full of joy.
“Today I choose joy.” Anonymous
How did you find solace this week?
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