When I was a kid, well a teenager, I loved the outdoors much as I do today, and I had back then as well an intense love of the winter season. I grew up skiing all the time, nearly every weekend. While in High School I decided to try something a bit different for winter fun, snowshoeing. I bought 2 pair of Sherpa Snowshoes, at that time they used to even sell kits, where you got the parts and put them together yourself. Back then most people did not snowshoe, so I figured I would need to buy 2 pair of snowshoes, so I’d have a pair available for a friend.
I’m not so into much of the type of snowshoeing that goes on these days, now there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just not really my thing. I don’t enjoy snowshoeing on groomed trails, I’m not that fond of snowshoeing on any trail that has been used much either. It’s hard to find the kind of snowshoes that are best for that type of use now days, they are all mostly too short for proper flotation in deep power snow. You see I view snowshoeing as empowering, as the ultimate freedom experience. To me it’s a chance to get away, to really leave organized sports behind. Anyone who’s been snowshoeing with me much, knows that there is no telling where I will go. I just love to venture off somewhere to look at something interesting. Snowshoeing offers so much in the way of free exploration, to me that’s the magic of it all.
If you have been following my blogs for very long you may recall a few posts where I talked about turning challenging weather into an advantage, how snow, although difficult at times, also provides, water, shelter, and improved travel conditions. Here’s my point as relates to snowshoeing. Around here and in many places in the world, a lot of areas are prohibitively difficult to travel in due to heavy vegetation, dense brush, or even mucky conditions. All this is changed drastically by the onset of winter, and the accumulation of snow. The vegetation, the brush and the swamps are thoroughly covered by thick layers of snow. On the snow travel through these areas couldn’t be easier, on snowshoes we go right over the top of all this.
Many times in winter we think when going camping, that we have to go heavy, carrying all sorts of extra gear in clothing and sleeping sy
stems, but in reality we can still go very light, we can use the snow and the brush to provide a very nice shelter, for no added weight or bulk, see our recent video on this.
Another option, if you choose to take everything, including the kitchen sink, you can do
that too. All you have to do is rig up a simple sled that you can pull behind you. It’s amazing how much gear you can easily haul in by using this method.
One last thing about snowshoeing, we love to jump off of things into the deep powder on our snowshoes. Because of the softness of the snow and the ease of using modern snowshoes, it is an ultimate fun to jump off a boulder, or a ridge or shoulder into the powder snow. If on a slope it’s a challenge to land the jump and stay up without falling, and even ski it out a bit.
I don’t know about you, but snowshoes besides being a useful tool in getting out from a broken down vehicle, or for necessary travel in deep snow; they are fun, empowering, and best of all freedomshoes. So next time you are out, get off the trail, do some exploring, really get into nature. Use your snowshoes for the greatest experience in winter, a hike on a cold clear night, under a bright moon, you just can’t beat it.
Until next time, not only “Simplifying Survival” but loving the whole process, this is Perry Peacock for Wilderness Innovation.