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The Miracle of Snowshoeing

Updated on January 23, 2009

The Road Not Taken

Snowshoes are a snowmobile less the stink, noise, and guilt. They are mobility. They take you to magic places where you otherwise could not go. They can bring you utter solitude and the peace that comes with it. Tread the diamond-strewn pathless white and cross paths with fox, coyote, deer, rabbit, weasel and mouse, their daily ventures detailed as if in cuneform at your feet, with only the wind as your companion. Or bring a friend and share the laughter of the unaccustomed environment. You will not be sorry.

Tracks tell the stories of animals' daily routines. The rabbit often hops around within a certain radius or sometimes might venture further, across an open space, in search of food. The fox and the coyote range for miles in more or less straight lines. Deer collect in herds where there is food. The mouse goes on brief expeditions, hopping lightly across the snow for several feet and then back the same way.

Gear

Snowshoes

I use snowshoes from L.L. Bean, which offers a variety of entry level snowshoes and snowshoe packages. I particularly like the easy entry/exit bindings. If you plan to go winter camping ot to hike long distance, you might consider a more advanced pair of snowshoes that will give you more stability and that won't sink down into soft snow quite as much. Atlas is an excellent brand.

Poles

Poles make snowshoeing much easier because they help you keep your balance, and if you lose your balance, they are very handy in helping you get up without getting too much snow down your glove.

Gaiters

Gaiters are water resistant, zip-on tubes that cover your shins and keep the snow off your pants or from going down your boot. I don't usually use gaiters, because I find that if I keep my pants leg outside my boot, almost no snow gets in. But if you are going to make a day of it, the ante on keeping your feet dry goes way up and gaiters might be a really good idea.

Full Body Workout

Snowshoeing is at least as aerobic as cross country skiing - perhaps moreso since one walks, rather than skis, down hills. Also, it is easier to negotiate more rugged terrain on snowshoes than skis. Using trekking poles (equipped with snow baskets) enhances the workout by including your arms and upper body.

It's a great way to get yourself a great workout or cross-training opportunity in a beautiful environment. Get your gear, get out there and have fun!

Comments

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    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Enjoy your snowshoeing, Michelle! It is great, isn't it?

    • michellemoseley profile image

      michellemoseley 

      9 years ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Tom,

      My husband and I just took up snow shoeing this winter and we love it. We got ours from LL Bean. We are actually going out tomorrow for a hike through the woods. It's going to be about 30 degrees. Perfect for snow shoeing.

      Have fun.

      Michelle

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Bruce. I used to ski all the time when I was in high school. I used to race on Nastar courses up in the Upper Peninsula and central Cheesehead country. I think the lift was dinosaur-powered ... I would really like to get back on skis someday.

    • profile image

      bruce Elkin 

      9 years ago

      Hi Tom, Great hub. Makes me want to get out there and shoe a bit. But we don't get snow for long enough to make it worthwhile here. And if we go to the mountains, we can ski. But it did get my outdoor neurons twitchin a little. Best!

    • profile image

      C. C. Riter 

      9 years ago

      Well Tom, that's the nature of things, they'll get it later.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      We took our kids hiking, snowshoeing, canoeing, camping, hiking, but is seems that as they get wholly into adolescence they no longer care for the outdoors. I think and hope that later in life they will look back fondly and return.

      Thank you, CC.

    • profile image

      C. C. Riter 

      9 years ago

      I love it Tom. Nothing like reading the stories of nature in the snow. "Oh the owl got a mouse here." Or, "The fox has left his yellowed calling card there." It's really a great way of turning children into nature lovers too.

      Thanx Tom

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Good for you guys, Story. Go out and enjoy!

      A friend of mine made his own snowshoes when I was a kid. I think wood and leather snowshoes are beautiful - but they are a lot heavier than the ones I use.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 

      9 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Hey Tom, Jack and I gave each other snowshoes for Christmas!  We got ours at REI and I am excited to try my first pair of showshoes designed for women.  I guess they are narrow in the back.  I started snowshoeing in the 70s when I worked at Eddie Bauer in Mpls and actually wove my own snowshoes, lol.  I love the quiet meditative nature of the beast!  Great hub!!!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Lgali!

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 

      9 years ago

      nice and informative hub

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      The poles are just like a cane, except they have a strap so you don't lose 'em in the snow! :-D

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      awww Tom so is possible then? wow I may have to give it a real try...ummm with a cane???:O( G-Ma Hugs

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Ya, G-Ma, I got bad knees, too, but I take it slow. Then I take ibuprofen!

      Snowshoes on grass! Doesn't sound completely legal, Needful! :0)

    • needful things profile image

      needful things 

      9 years ago from Poland

      I've always wanted to try snowshoes on real snow. I've worn snowshoes made by foreign exchange student. Used it on grass... LOL... one of these days I'll use it on snow.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      sounds like fun to me...Never been on ski's but this sounds more my way to get around...I love the descriptions you gave of the creatures one can come across...Love that sort of adventure...too bad My knees are so bad...Nice hub...Thanks G-Ma :o) hugs & Peace

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