|Strapping on my cute pink show shoes for|
the first time in over 30 years.
At some point in my youth… Around the age of 14 or 15 or so, I had the opportunity to strap on a pair of snow shoes and trek through an open field. The wood and sinew snow shoes weighed a ton. I had to swing my legs out to the side, lifting the snow shoes around each other in order to make any progress. It was hard work and it was wonderful.
|CA eating snow off a spruce branch|
along the trail.
I remember thinking when I first moved to Houston that snow shoeing would be a fun thing to take up. We certainly had the snow for it. But it never happened. Instead, I ended up getting married, having a few kids and things like trekking about in the snow were not a priority.
|One of the spectacular|
sights deep in "Merkwood"
Winter sports – sports in general, actually – have never held great appeal for me. You are not likely to find me down at the gym working out or on the field or court scoring goals or points. It just isn’t me. (Although, I did quite enjoy badminton back in the day.) I like walking. That’s about it. Walking is enjoyable and, while it may not be a sport, it’s about as ambitious as I get when it comes to “exercise.”
Walking in the winter is just as enjoyable, but it can be somewhat more problematic, particularly if you have a hankering to walk off-road.
This past summer, I came across two pairs of snow shoes at a yard sale for $10 each. I was thrilled and quickly withdrew a crisp $20 bill from my wallet to give in trade for this amazing treasure. The snow shoes were not wood and sinew. They were aluminium and plastic. One pair was blue and one pair was pink. I could hardly wait for winter. As it turned out, I traded the blue pair, which was much too big for me, to a friend for her husband in exchange for a smaller pair for my daughter. I purchased a pair of Nordic ski poles and some warm snow pants and I was set. We were all set! Let the snow shoeing adventures begin!
My first trek was a short one along the dike to gather wood for my Yule tree project. My second trek was through a local park and along the dike with some friends at a snow shoeing workshop. My third trek was a 45-minute hike with friends through another local park.
|Oops! It's harder than it looks! L lost her footing and|
down she went.
|Gathering sticks along the dike.|
On Boxing Day my daughter and two dear friends went to another dear friend’s home, a gorgeous 250 acre parcel of land just out of town where we strapped on our snow shoes and left civilization behind for a 90-minute trek through the woods and across the field. It was amazing. The crisp winter air filled our lungs and the soft blanket of snow packed under our feet as we followed a winding trail through the bush. We followed fence lines for a time. We climbed hills and descended into dips. There were a couple of wipe-outs as some of us fell laughing in the snow. And all too soon, we found ourselves back at the beginning a little tired, but even more rejuvenated with our cheeks aglow with smiles all around.
|Just starting out on the path through|
Snow shoeing does not facilitate conversation very well. It’s hard to talk when you are concentrating on not tripping over your over-sized feet. What it does facilitate, though, is a common bond with nature, a communion of silent companionship and a deep appreciation for shared experience. Together we walked in a winter wonderland as five friends. And that is priceless.