Sunday, April 30, 2006

Making Tracks In The Snow

A snowshoe is an odd shaped device that permits a person to walk over deep snow without sinking into the snow. The snowshoe distributes a person's weight over a large area. The adult snowshoes are about three feet long and a foot and a half wide. Children's snowshoes are smaller as their weight is less than an adult.

The traditional snowshoes are made of a light weight wooden frame, bent into a long oval. A weave of strings of raw animal hide are stretched across the frame. The strings are tied to the wood frame and both are coated with several coats of water resistance varnish. Native Americans were the first to use snowshoes in the regions of deep snow. Many of the traditional snowshoe shapes are modeled after these early Native American snowshoes.

To walk with snowshoes, one moves their feet so that the snowshoe glides over the surface of the snow. An outward motion to the snowshoe with each forward step must be used. With practice, one can cover many miles over the snow. It is an excellent form of exercise, different than walking, but is most enjoyable; as it gives one the ability to view the wonders of the winter forest.

Today, modern snowshoes are made of light weight tubular metal shapes and wide plastic webbing similar to the tranditional snowshoes. The modern snowshoes have small and different shapes and other accessories to aid the user in snowshoeing, especially when climbing or going down hill. Our traditional snowshoes seem to support us better without sinking deeper into the snow than the modern metal snowshoes.

It is magical to walk in the deep snow with snowshoes at night, especially when the moon is full. The snow glistens from the light of the moon. The snowshoes steps make no sound and the dark shadows of the winter forest seem ghost like. It is a scene that shines with a luster with a dropback of the large pine trees that appear as silent sentinels against the sky and the sparkling snow.


Carol said...

Your post reminded me of a beautiful children's book called Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. I enjoyed the walk.

Deer Tracks & Trails said...

Thank you for your comment on "Making Tracks In The Snow". We checked out the book "Owl Moon" and found it a delightful children's book about the winter walks in the forest. We have owls in our forest and it would be fun to imitate the sounds of the owl in our forest. Thanks again!

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