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Get out and enjoy it

By: Viki Mather – In The Bush

 | Feb 13, 2014 - 3:48 PM |
Enough with the snow already?! Maybe. Probably not. Take a deep breath … let it go. We still have the rest of February. All of March. And April too. Don’t forget about April.

Take a deep breath … let it go. Can’t do anything about it, might as well get out there and enjoy the sunny days between storms. Enjoy the stormy days as well. Get outside at least twice a day. Take a deep breath of that crisp winter air.

Winter of 2014 is the year of the snowshoe. First time in nearly two decades it has been worth getting out the old-fashioned wood and rawhide snowshoes. They’re nearly as long as I am tall. So beautiful that I keep them on the wall for decoration.

Nostalgia for the good old days when winters were cold and the snow was deep.

Most snowshoes these days are small by comparison. Made of metal and composites, they have sharp claws integral to the bindings to facilitate walking on packed trails and icy slopes. I’ve been using them for a long time. When the snow is not deep, the little shoes are lovely and light.

The big wooden snowshoes are not as heavy as they look I noticed as I took them off the wall.

They are perfect for cold and deep snow. Perfect for the winter of 2014. Giant snowshoes are not any harder to use than the small ones. Steps are not wide just because the snowshoe is wide.

With each step, one shoe lifts over the other and fits neatly into the curve of the one behind. The tracks create a lovely pattern in the snow.

I strapped them on and slid down the steep hill out front. It was almost like skiing through two feet of powder. Once on the lake, I felt I was floating across the waves of windblown snow.

I hardly sank at all into the deep snow on the lake. Soft, fluffy snow puffed through the holes in the rawhide mesh. With each step, the cold crystals drifted back through. A big drift of snow piled high on the lee side of the big island.

The ski pole I carry dipped deeper into the snow and came up with slush. But the snowshoes kept me well above that mucky layer of saturated snow. Had I worn my new-age fancy snowshoes, I would have sunk down through and the slush would have stuck, making for a heavy walk home.

Across the lake, over the hill, through the swamp and then the cedar copse.

The joy of snowshoeing is the ability to go anywhere and everywhere. You can’t beat winter — might as well enjoy it.


Viki Mather has been commenting for Northern Life on the natural world and life in Greater Sudbury since the spring of 1984.

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