Yesterday morning we were greeted by a powdery blanket of snow. It was one of those days that define Canadians or other northerners. It would have been easy to hunker down inside with an extra cappuccino.
Instead we gave each other a quick little pep talk about needing some exercise and about not being wimps and about not procrastinating. We then hauled our snowshoes down from the garage wall and dusted off our ski poles. Admittedly, it’s been a few years since we’ve been so inspired. And there was a temptation to wait another day in the hope there’d be deeper snow. Somewhere in the depth of our genes a spark of the frontier spirit fired. We headed down the driveway and on to the trails in our neighbourhood to embrace winter.
I was a bit rusty at first and even though it was my idea to snowshoe instead of just going for a walk, I balked initially at the idea of heading down our more rugged trail. A few strides later in the fluffy snow I concurred with Mark’s decision.
With today’s lighter snowshoes fitted with easier binding systems and the addition of ski poles to assist in your balance, snowshoeing is a relatively easy sport. I recognize that many trappers and professional snowshoe athletes have mastered this at a level well beyond a casual recreationalist. However, for a quick take up activity, the average person can grasp the basic technique quite rapidly.
While you can rent the equipment, compared to many other sports, the cash outlay to purchase your own is reasonable and within reach of the average budget. Once you have your own snowshoes and poles, the sport is extremely portable.
We headed down our trail with exaggerated steps to our private little picnic site that offers us an alternate perspective on our view. We were both a bit clumsy in spots where we had to step over deadfall or make a tighter turn at first. But it didn’t take too long to remember how to kick turn our snowshoes and negotiate such situations far more graciously.
Had we headed out on a long trek, we may have taken turns breaking the trail. On this outing though it was more important to stride through the virgin drifts and experience almost the same joy as powder skiing. After the short break at our picnic site, we set back up the trail. It was much too soon to surrender from the outdoors so we headed over to our neighbour’s to see how construction was progressing. Still unquenched in our quest, we continued up his driveway, down the road which had not yet been plowed and finally to the trails on another neighbour’s undeveloped property before returning home.
The outing was a great reminder of how important it is to embrace winter. It wasn’t particularly cold outside to begin with yesterday and within minutes of our large strides, we were toasty. It was a blast and we won’t be waiting so long again to pursue the activity!
It’s a good thing we didn’t procrastinate. There has been no new snow and the regional district crew have been out diligently clearing the snow and sanding the roads.