Snowshoeing

Sunday, February 14, 2021 (34 days until First Day of Spring)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

And, Happy snowshoeing days!

Finally yesterday, in a day of new snow, I found time to test my new snowshoes–lightweight and correctly sized.

First, some history. Back in 2017, Central Oregon’s winter covered it in deep, long-lasting snow. One afternoon in snow about two feet deep, I ventured outside on snowshoes. Before, and about ten years earlier, I had for the first and only time used those shoes–up on Mt. Bachelor with a guided group of snowshoe novices. Then, the work of snowshoeing quickly proved too much. Walking required all my energy and whatever extra might be mustered. It was painful to stay with the group, lifting each heavy snowshoe was a feat of desperation. I welcomed the moments our guide paused to explain snowshoeing. From the depths of my heart, I swore never again to be on them.

Fast forward to 2017’s deep snow, it was perfect for snowshoeing. I found my old shoes, donned them, headed out. All was fine walking down my long driveway. At its bottom, I curved back onto my property and into a flat area without rocks. Who knows why I tripped, maybe one of my shoes caught the other. I landed on my knees with the front halves of both snowshoes stuck deeply in snow, which prevented a shifting of the shoes. I had to get them underneath myself in order to get up, and I had no walking poles.

The only solution would be reaching a tree about twenty-five feet away. Its trunk was narrow enough to grab and use to hoist myself to a stand. I crawled on my knees while dragging snowshoes through the deep snow. Finally reaching the tree, I pulled myself into a stand. From way deep in my heart, I’d never again snowshoe!

Upon reaching the house, I removed those shoes, threw them into the trash.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned that snowshoeing technology has improved and nowadays shoes are lighter. I know now that they come in sizes. My old ones might have been large or extra-large, leftovers from a store shelf. In my early days in Oregon, knowing next to nothing about winter sports, I grabbed any winter equipment I saw.

This season, I decided to try snowshoeing again. Most stores had sold out of all but the large and extra-large sizes. I’m educated now and walked past them, finding online instead an appropriate package. It had lightweight shoes, sized correctly, and with walking sticks. Yesterday, I unpackaged the set, figured out how to adjust fits, and set in and tightened my Sorel Boots. I slipped my feet inside the Sorels and lifted walking sticks.

What a world of difference lightweight shoes made. They were easy to lift up and set down. Those sticks were helpful for leaning on or poking ahead to check for impedances. I walked all over my property in snow averaging about six inches with foot-high drifts. Finally, I traveled onto the street and walked nearly a mile. Loved it!

Uphill tracks after a climb

Tomorrow, if the snow holds, I’ll venture out again–wearing snowshoes and accompanied by the dogs. We’ll be somewhere in the tundra.

Dear Friends: Sometimes just giving up may over time encourage a related new beginning. Diana

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