Snow shoeing in the back country
So You Like to Go Snow Shoeing!
There is nothing like getting out there in the wilderness any time. I have found that the best time is in the afternoon with a nice sunny day and about minus 15 degrees C. Just because Snow Shoeing is a very active sport. It burns calories and at times feels like hard work.
I started on the unspoiled Campbell Coastal trail in Dipper Harbour after a fresh snowfall of 30 cm. Of course the first few steps were all up hill good to get the breathing going. The snow was deep at certain places up to my hips and the trail breaking was demanding at times. The amount of clothing I had put on was just perfect for the condition as long as I did not stand still for a long time. I did however take frequent stops for about half a minute or so, just to cool down a bit and keep my hearth rate under control.
As I was snow shoeing in the fresh snow, observing plants that were still green, grass that made circular patterns in the snow, trees that were blown over, Moose and Deer trails that crossed my path, and the vistas of the Bay of Fundy and fields of snow of the open bogs, my mind started to write a book on snow shoeing. It was about technique, safety, endurance and comradery.
It took two hours of snow shoeing on the trail and I covered about eight km. There was bush wacking, going through birch groves, clear cuts, and logging road. Most of the time I travelled along the survey lines and deer trails. There was no real issue about my position/location but more about what to do in case of an emergency. The wind had picked up and going into the chilling wind I should have taken my Balaclava. My face was getting wind burned and I thought about possible frost bite on my cheeks. When I finished the trail and removed the snow shoes, I walked with my back towards the wind when I finished. My face felt better and soon to warm up next to the wood stove.
More snow had fallen throughout the week. It was time to hit the trail again. Minus ten degrees C and windy. The trail was covered with fresh snow and within the trees it was visible but on the open areas it was like making a new trail. The very grey overcast made the snow look flat. This time the snow was crunchy and hard. Snow shoeing was a lot more noisy but covered the trail in one hour and a half. This time I ran into a Cyote Den and lots of trails. At the end of the trail it finished off with a mature Bald Eagle flying overhead.
Too get ready
To take on some exersice one should physically be ready for that. There is a lot of determination and stamina required.Once you are committed you have to finish. I say that because it is winter and you are in frigid conditions. Know your limit.
How to dress
What to take
You are ready to go? Make sure that you leave your trip ideas and plan with someone near by. Let the someone know where you are going and what time you should be back. In case of an emergency you may activate from your Spot or if not back within reasonable time have someone contact the EMO / Police/ Rescue group/ anyone. Make sure someone has first aid and CPR qualifications. Here sometimes knowledge of wilderness first aid will be an asset.
Snow Shoe Techniques