It was a warm Sunday. The first of February vacation and what would anyone else want to do but go snowshoeing of course. It doesn’t take much to go out snowshoeing. It’s definitely one of those activities that you convince yourself will take too much effort to get started but then you once you do it you realize it takes far less time as you imagined. It took me about five minutes to get the dressed and strap the boots on and about 5 more to get my siblings to stop taking embarrassing photos and making fun of me. Then, I ventured out.
Getting it started was easier for me because I have about 100 acres of conservation behind my yard. These are acres that I spent my summer exploring with my dog, so I knew them like the back of my hand. Knowing these trails came in handy as I figured out that it is easier to go off trail, where there aren’t big tracks. You see, when there are lots of foot prints, the snow gets packed down unevenly, which (if you’re like me ) will mess up your walking rhythm. So it ends up being easier to go off trail where the snow is untouched. And even if you are concerned with being off trail, just remember that you can always just turn around and walk along side your tracks to get you back where you used to be. As long as you are conscious of how long you’ve been out and how long you’ll have until you’re back to the start.
(sorry for the shaky video but it got pretty exhausting, hence the break to sit down)
Overall Tips for Snowshoeing:
- Don’t Bundle Up: It’s not just a walk in the woods, it’s a bit more exhausting. You’ll definitely end up sweating if you’re out there for more than 30 minutes so don’t over do it with the coats. That’s not to say that you can’t wear warm clothes, but I think a jacket and a vest will be more that enough to keep you warm for the most part (of course that still depends on how cold it is outside initially).
- Stop and Look Around: At first it’s hard not to keep looking down to make sure you don’t trip on anything, but stopping to enjoy the snow capped trees and hills make it all worth the while. Also, stop and check out the little animal tracks that might cross your path. It’s always exciting to think about the other creatures that take advantage of the trails.
- Bring Poles and Sunglasses: Luckily, I remembered to bring poles, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have made it a single mile. It’s nearly impossible to maintain balance with snowshoes without ski (or hiking) poles, especially if it’s your first time. I forgot my sunglasses, which was not fun because the snow can be blinding, so this can keep any light sensitive eyes from getting migraines on your adventure outside.
- Ditch the Dog: It’s horrible thing to say but snowshoeing is most certainly not puppy-proof. My dad took Cooper with him snowshoeing a couple weeks ago and said it was miserable and now I see why. Unless you have an incredibly obedient dog that is willing to stay at your pace and not try to run off and sniff every 10 seconds, it will be nearly impossible to have as much of a pleasant time to go snowshoeing. It’s hard enough staying in your rhythm alone, so I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be doing this while holding on to a puppy’s leash.
I’d rate snowshoeing a 4/5. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed snowshoeing. It was a far better workout than anything I had ever done at the gym, not to mention I didn’t have to drive anywhere and I got fresh air in the woods. It made me feel better about the winter because I was really missing the way I could go out and explore anywhere outside in the summer but with snowshoeing I can still go out and hit the trails. The only problem was that I couldn’t bring my dog with me. Otherwise, it’s a great activity, floating on the untouched snow, seeing other animals’ tracks, the silence of the woods in winter, not to mention the fact that you can go as long or as short as you’d like. I would definitely do it again if the snow doesn’t melt anytime soon.