Most of us live and work in busy cities or suburbs, our schedules rush us from one planned activity to another, and much of our day is spent plugged into some type of electronic or motorized device. Our working world is in a constant state of humming, the computer hums, and the phone rings and the television is on. For real peace of mind, you need to venture out and escape that noise.
Snowfall is noiseless; the trees in their grandeur, heavily laden with snow stand still, regal and muted, even the cold crisp air is hushed. The sun bounces off of the stark white snow ready to lift your spirits. There is nothing controlling or interrupting your thoughts. Allow your mind to whisper to you.
Get the picture? Now get yourself in the picture.
Go for a snow hike, try some cross country skiing, or better yet, take up snowshoeing. This sport is easy to learn, relatively inexpensive and poses little risk of injury. Snowshoes are one of the oldest inventions of mankind and snowshoeing is really making a comeback with winter recreation. Although the original wooden frame snowshoes are still in use in large numbers, the more recent aluminum-frame Western designs are making the fit easier for everyone.
Snowshoeing allows you to venture off the beaten path, head out for the back country and tuck into those hard to reach places. The silence allows you to wonder as you wander, reducing stress as you trek on top of the snow. Your movements must be calm, graceful and light in order to reflect the conditions of the snow, which forces you to be more at one with things during the snow hike. Remember to pause, there is no rush.
Much like the pace of life, snow shoeing requires balance. To a large extent, the terrain locally is even and gentle. When you are faced with an uphill challenge, always remember the safest position is straight up. The tendency is to lean forward, which increases the chance of you falling on your face. The next instinct is to lean back, which can cause your feet to slide out from underneath you. Best advice is to straighten up, look ahead, plan for your optimum route and then go for it.
Take the kids, and be prepared, they will catch on to it before you do.
Some of the more popular areas locally for a day of snowshoeing include The Frink Centre, The Sandbanks, Vanderwater Park, and Presqu'ile Provincial Park. For more information and to find good snowshoeing areas near you, call the local parks and recreation centre, or go online at www.ontariotrails.on.ca and be sure to read the section on snowshoe smart tips.
Always play safe, be responsible.
Prepare yourself; enjoy the solitude, peace and quiet this winter.
Publiblished December 2009 Issue County and Quinte Living