Before heading back to school this week, I dusted off my snowshoes and headed into the woods. There was a lot of dust to shake off because we coasted through last winter with virtually no snow. I nearly forgot how breathtakingly beautiful and pristine a fresh, new snowfall is.
It doesn’t take long before the snow on the side of the roads gets dirty and mucky. However, the forest is an entirely different story.
Just as my kayak allows me to explore the river during summer, my snowshoes take me deep into the woods during the winter, providing access to areas I otherwise would not be able to experience. Snowshoeing is much easier than skiing – and great exercise, too! If you can walk, you can snowshoe!
Winter might actually be my favorite season to hike. After a few minutes on snowshoes, the cold melts away, and the warmth of the sunshine feels incredible. The crisp air feels rejuvenating to breathe, and the deep peace, quiet, and stillness of the woods in winter is simply divine. And there are no pesky mosquitoes or flies, either!
The winter woods tells so many stories of animals and their habits. For instance, my husband and I followed some deer tracks that led to where the animal slept for the night before continuing on its way.
I love to see the sunlight pass through the bare trees and illuminate the white snow like a sea of glistening diamonds. The interplay of white canvas and blue-tinted shadows and the contrast between the white snow and the brown trees are visually compelling.
Another mesmerizing effect happens when a sudden burst of wind blows a cloud of fine snow in front of the sun, and the snowflakes sparkle like glitter.
Snowshoeing doesn’t require much equipment or investment. Snowshoes aren’t terribly expensive to begin with, and all you need in addition to warm outdoor clothing is a pair of gaiters to keep your lower legs dry and ski poles for extra stability and balance.
I had a dream several weeks ago that we finally had made it through a long, frigid winter that felt like it would never end. It was a great feeling, until I woke up and realized that winter hadn’t even begun yet! Whenever I pass by my kayak, I gaze at it wistfully and look forward to getting back on the river in the spring. But in the meantime, I’ll rely on my snowshoes to help me make the most of this season by transporting me deep into winter’s magic and embracing its gifts.
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