Thirty minutes after opening the snowshoes the youngest son was asking if we could go snowshoeing on the day before New Years Day. He raring to test out the new shoes! He wants to drive down the road, about thirty minutes, to the mountains around Red Lodge, go into the national forest, and do a little winter hiking. A group of us did this last year around this time and we had a blast. So, the child has laid down the gauntlet--thrown out the challenge! Because of this we will probably be heading out early on December 31st over to Silver Run to do a little snowshoeing--we might even get lucky and see a moose!
The youngest son got a pair of snowshoes from the Yukon Company. The idea is that the webbing of the shoe distributes the individual's weight so that he or she can walk on top of the snow. Thus snowshoes are designed with a weight limit and the individual has to make sure that he or she has the right size shoe--if too much weigh is on the shoe they sink into the snow. The pair above is similar to the pair that the youngest son got for Christmas. Under the front ball of the feet is the claw or teeth of the snowshoe which allows the individual to get a grip in the snow. This grip flexes with the foot and is a natural rhythm while walking. On the top is the binding and this can add to the cost--the faster the binding the more expensive the snowshoes.
I enjoy snowshoeing because it gives me a different perspective on the areas that I often hike in the summer. Though it is the same terrain, it is a whole new world. The world looks softer covered in snow--gentler and more peaceful. It is also quieter. It is a wonderful time to take pictures--enjoy the silence--and get in some exercise. Snowshoeing is definitely exercise and your body will let you know once you are done. But it is well worth it.
Here are a few of the scenes from my snowshoeing adventures last winter--first, from Silver Run:
And then from near Bozeman:
Yes, the challenge has been given, the gauntlet has been laid, and I am ready for the adventure. I am looking forward to the first snowshoe expedition of the winter with my youngest son. It is the great escape from the busyness and noise of life. I look forward to the silence as Guy de la Valdene writes in his book, The Fragrance of the Grass: "Of all the sounds that touch my soul these days, the most beautiful one of all is silence." I like that about snowshoeing and the fact that we have a tradition that finishes the hike--a beer at the local brewery. Nothing beats a wintry hike with family and friends!