Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The mile-high mountain just above our town has some of the best cross country ski trails in the state. I enjoy skiing. The forest is beautiful, the trails winding through the ponderosa pines, an occasional deer, a turkey, a fox.
I decided in the fall that I wanted to snowshoe this winter. To venture off the beaten path, or rather, the groomed trail, and peacefully hike through fresh snow, in between red tree trunks and evergreen pine boughs, follow some animal tracks, to be a little closer to the land and nature, alone.
Through Craigslist, I found a pair of handmade wooden snowshoes for sale. They were made in the 70's. The gal who had them lived in Portland, OR. The transaction was made, after numerous email correspondence, and we became friends through the whole process. In fact, we may meet up with her and her husband, to canoe next summer. Our letters went from talking about snowshoes to handmade canoe paddles to camping/canoe trips in British Columbia. An adventurous couple, just the kind we like.
The snowshoes arrived. These are not just any snowshoes. They have a history behind them that would only mean something to me. Why? Because these particular snowshoes were made and laced by my very own father in law! I know! Isn't that a crazy coincidence? They are a beautiful piece of work and craftsmanship. See for yourself. He is lacing a pair of snowshoes here.
C's father was a 'back to the land' type of guy. They lived in a log cabin that he built himself. They had a dog mushing team. He trained hawks. They lived on a river and traveled by canoe if they wanted to. And he made and sold classic wooden snowshoes.
I strapped them on the other morning and took them for a spin. I've snowshoed just one other time before. It felt unfamiliar but I liked it, and I eventually got the hang of it, finding my own rhythm. Now, if only it would SNOW. I mean really snow. Up here on the mountain I'm standing in two inches when normally it should be two feet. Just when I get into the spirit of winter, Mother Nature (and global warming) seem to have made other plans. Oh, I know it will snow eventually. But, we won't be having a white Christmas in town this year. Snowmen won't be made. Sledding is out of the question. My husband bought a kite.