Snowshoeing in the woods

This post could be subtitled “The ultimate anti-Super Bowl Sunday activity.” I don’t like football, and I detest all the hype surrounding the Super Bowl. And the weather this weekend was decent enough for me to finally get out and snowshoe – so that’s what I did on Sunday.

Snowshoeing is the easiest winter sport there is. All you have to do is put on snowshoes…and walk. No training required! Every time I go out and snowshoe I ask myself why I don’t do it more often, because it is so much fun. (But the reality is, of course, I come up with every excuse in the book: It’s too cold. I’m too tired. I don’t have time. Blah, blah, blah.)

I’ve had these snowshoes for eight or nine years. They are extremely lightweight and not a huge investment. You can buy them at sporting goods stores or discount stores. I bought poles with mine because I’m super uncoordinated, and the poles help keep me upright (most of the time). I also bought gaters, which attach easily to a pair of hiking boots and help keep your feet and lower legs dry (and therefore warmer).

The first time I snowshoed was about 10 years ago in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with a friend who lived in Denver at the time. He let me borrow a pair of snowshoes and showed me how to attach them to my hiking boots. And then off we went. The path we hiked had at least a couple of feet of snow on it, but it was packed down tight so the walking was easy. What a great idea! I was hooked.

Since then I’ve snowshoed in northern Minnesota and in central Iowa, but I definitely need to do it more. Yesterday’s hike was in Ledges State Park, one of my favorite places. I trekked through the woods and worked up a good sweat. A word of advice: Don’t bundle up too much when you snowshoe, because you generate a lot of body heat. Dress in thin layers instead, and be prepared to sweat!

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