I went snowshoeing at Telemark on Friday. (Telemark is up Glenrosa Road, almost to Crystal Mountain Ski Hill.) It was the first time for me this winter and it was very satisfying. The weather conditions made the snow rather poor for cross country skiing but it really didn't affect the enjoyment of snowshoeing. I had brought my own snowshoes so only needed a day pass and a map (very important!) to get going. I was on my own, my daughter and her school group went off on the cross country ski trails, and I felt a bit like an explorer. My husband had warned me about going it alone and that I had better not get lost or meet a cougar. I think he was being overprotective, but he had a couple of good points. Then my daughter's teacher commented that he should have brought his GPS for me to use. Honestly, I have never been lost and needed a rescue...you would have thought I was a regular client of search and rescue! Anyway, with all those endorsements under my belt, I headed out along Pine Forest Trail. It was 4K of forest, occasionally crossing the ski trails, through thick spruce and fir treed areas with fairly steep climbs, then more open aspen or poplar stands (not sure which, deciduous trees with very smooth, light coloured bark anyway). I managed the distance in about 50 minutes. Pretty slow pace compared to walking on hard surfaces but considering the gait adjustment for the snowshoes and the snow which can be challenging to tread through, I did okay. I came out at the chalet just as my daughter's ski group was returning...saving my reputation for another day!
If you have been pole walking for a while, using snowshoes with poles is an easy transition. I liked the idea that I was getting a whole body workout (like with pole walking) and could enjoy the snowy terrain. The sound of snowshoeing is nice, too. Pretty quiet (especially if you are alone) with the regular crunch of each step along the way. On some of the hills, I think I also heard my heartbeat! I didn't see any wildlife, they probably ran when they heard me coming. But I did hear some birds and it was a nice soundtrack. I often walk with friends but I really do treasure my alone times, too. I find a pause break in the hectic schedule of my days. A time to think and to listen to my thoughts. A time to sing and pray or just savour the joy of using my body in a way that is healthy and fun.