See what I did there? (With a tip of the cap to John Steinbeck, of course.) While we’re still in the full grip of my favorite time of year, this is Maine, which means that the inevitable five months known as “ski season” loom menacingly on the horizon.
Winter. Oy. Vey.
Sure, there are hardy souls who traipse these woods in the winter, flopping about in snowshoes. I’ve tried in the past to warm to the idea of snowshoes as a runner. Manufacturers have developed some running profile add-on kicks to strap onto trail shoes when the trail itself is buried beneath feet of white powder. And though they would be a viable alternative to sitting inside and cursing the accumulation of ice on the roadside where running usually takes place, for me they were a non-starter for one reason.
When I was younger I could contort my body on a run any way I wished and suffer no ill consequences. But at an age where lifting a basket full of laundry at a slightly awkward angle can pull a dozen muscles, the thought of altering my natural running stride to account for the additional width and length of teflon coated aluminum clown shoes appeals to me not at all.
But as a hiker? Hmmm.
My walking stride mechanics, especially given the narrower and shorter profile and lighter weight of running snowshoes over those classic strap-on wooden boats, would be less aggressively altered and easier to physically tolerate than those of running. In my simple mind, at least. So in consideration of my desire to get some full-pack practice hiking in this winter, I’m lightly shopping running-specific snowshoes. There are several trails within an hour of me that could be traversed during the aftermath of the worst blizzard if I had a pair. As a bonus, it would be fun to watch my water bottles turn to blocks of ice in the mesh side pockets of my Kestrel 28.
I’ve had to adjust my way of thinking in several areas during this ongoing transition from running to hiking. And snowshoes, with winter mocking me from a distance, have just made the once-rejected-now-under-consideration list.