Wednesday I decided to try out the snowshoes I stole/borrowed from my mother. About five years ago my Mom asked for snowshoes for Christmas and my Dad obliged her. It never snowed enough for her to use them. They hung, tags still on them until I asked to use them this winter.
What I actually wanted to do was cross-country ski. I’ve wanted to take that up since the blizzard of 2009. My parents used to Nordic ski, I distinctly remember the navy blue skis that lived in our garage when I was little. we moved when I was about ten and the navy blue skis disappeared. Since then when it snows there are, of course, no skis to be had and when it hasn’t it’s hard to justify the price of equipment. Even when two feet of snow Armin wouldn’t hear talk of skiing, apparently moving to Virginia means I shouldn’t contemplate this hobby.
Anyway, we had snowshoes on hand and a buttload of snow. After extensive research of one (1) youtube video I took the snowshoes for a spin in the backyard of the apartment complex. Mainly because if it sucked I was home, but also because the yard still had tracts of pure, unmessed snow – the sort you’re sompelled to ruin cuz it’s so perfect. The unbroken whiteness also meant pictures and while I can no longer ‘do it for the vine’ I can still do it for the ‘gram.
Snowshoes are fairly idiot proof (I am the case in point), so I loaded them up and headed for the MKT to feel very majestic/ at one with nature/pretentious and enjoy a wintery adventure complete with Vivaldi and take some pictures. I wandered the trail for an hour and learned more about snowshoeing. So here are some things I’ve learned about snowshoes after one (1) time out with them:
- The whole solo walk through nature with classical music is a great way to be alone with your thoughts. I don’t like to be alone with my thoughts…
- I had not been the only water adventurer who thought the MKT was a good idea. Upside, the parking lot was immaculate by the time I got there (empty too, since it was like 9am on a Wednesday). Downside, the trail was covered in footprints and cowpaths. Not insta-ready, sometimes sorta icy, but mainly the unevenness meant there were times I had to walk one foot in a trough and the other on taller snow which felt even more stupid looking than tromping around with surfboards on my feet. (So try to get on some snow that’s at least vaguely even).
- You’re gunna want to walk sorta pigeon toed or bowlegged so the shoes don’t clack together and catch on one another.
- Deep/ a lot of snow is necessary for snow shoes but not all snow is created equal. Most of what I was walking on was fluffy and wet. Grad for building snowmen, not strong enough, even with big shoes on to keep me from sinking in. Now, I didn’t sink all the way down, as deep as I would have if I was just walking about. But I still sunk deep enough in that I kicked snow up with every step, effectively snowballing my own ass. Better snow for “floating” (I think this is what it’s called when the snowshoes work), I found was the slightly more frozen, packed stuff. Like the kind with the creme brûlée layer of ice on the top. It was a little firmer overall and I definitely didn’t throw snow up my legs as I walked across that snow.
So yeah, my four observations about snowshoeing. Aside from the shoes you’re going to want good, warm boots, warm socks too. I went out wearing a double layer of socks, one wooly, the other over the knee (those cute argyle sorta Valentines-y things you see in the picture), I also wore a pair of cold weather workout tights, a sports bra, cold weather workout top, a thick turtleneck sweater, a quilted vest, and an earflap hat. I love me some ugly hats and socks. If I went out again, I might wear snow pants, not because I felt I needed them for warmth or aesthetic purposes but mainly because as I was kicking up so much snow the snow slid down my socks and into the boots. I also wore some gloves but kept taking them off so I could take pictures with my phone. I didn’t use poles and I didn’t feel like I needed them, but I was on a predominately flat trail and was going at a wander’s pace. If I was going for longer times or distances the poles might be useful.
I will say, modern snowshoes, like the ones I had, while efficient and kitted out with spikes for traction are kinda disappointing. Like when I think of snowshoes I picture tennis rackets strapped on your feet like Winnie-the-Pooh style. The metal and plastic ones just don’t have the same energy. I mean I still felt pretty hipster snowshoeing but like I could have been more so.
I will try to keep tracking out. It’s probably good exercise and someone should use the damn things. Also, I could stand to actually do one of these “hobbies” I claim to have. A novel concept to be sure, and we’ll see how it goes once the semester starts but it’s worth a shot.
Speaking of shots, some photos from my snowshoe adventure along the MKT Trail.