This is our first winter back in snow country and we are loving it! For Christmas, we got snowshoes for the whole family. We love hiking in the nice weather, so snowshoeing is like hiking in the winter. Little did we realize how much we would all enjoy it and how magical it can be. It's almost surreal to be high in the mountains, three or more miles off the main road, walking on top of 4' or more of snow. I've had these moments where everything seems to move in slow motion and I'm hyper sensitive to the awesomeness that is happening. I'm grateful for the fresh perspective these snowshoeing experiences have given me.
5 Things Snowshoeing Taught Me About Life
1. Winter can be a time of deep introspection. A white blanket of snow covers the ground, like covering the clutter and worry in our minds. The bright white layer allows space to think about where we are, listen to our thoughts, and acknowledge the feelings that come up. Less stimulation, less clutter, less worry.
2. Exercise can be fun. Walking outdoors on top of snow makes me feel like a kid. It's magical and fun and doesn't feel like work at all. Snowshoeing feels like walking on water, like you're getting away with something you're not supposed to do. It reminds me of birds with their hollow bones and tiny feet, running across thin ice and snow. We even tried jogging in our snowshoes, which wasn't easy, but we had some good laughs.
3. A little bit of fear is okay. Our 13-yr old son doesn't like to stay on the trails. He likes to lead us off the path, up the steeper hills into the deep snow. I immediately fear that we'll get lost and stranded or walk off a tall cliff, but then realize that's just the fear in my head and we'll actually be just fine. I'm committed to not living in fear, so off we go! We've had some of our best times on these excursions he leads us on.
4. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. My husband and I recently did a weekend getaway, just the two of us. We stayed at a tiny cabin in Estes Park and went snowshoeing one afternoon. We were on a trail that led to 3-4 different destinations, depending on which way you went. Our plan was to reach a waterfall, but we kept getting turned around on which way to go. We weren't lost, just not sure if we were on the trail to the waterfall. After over two hours of snowshoeing up the mountain, we decided we better turn around to make it back before dark. Our two Luna bars and water bottle wouldn't last much longer. As we trekked down the trail, we were tired and hungry and anxious to just get back. It seemed like it took forever to get down the mountain and I found myself getting hypnotized in the rhythm of our snowshoes, thinking to myself, "Just keep putting one foot in front of the other". Somehow, it was almost meditative and relaxing. It reminded me how many times in life, when we feel it's just too much and we want to cry, "Uncle!" We just have to keep on walking. Our hike that day ended up being 7 miles, which was longer than we had planned, but we did it.
5. Nature is breathtaking. We should get outside and enjoy the natural wonders as much as we can. Nature is amazing, beautiful, and healing. It appeals to all of our senses and is so calming and inspiring. I can often feel renewed for several days after being outdoors for the day.
Whether you are in snow country, in a warm tropical climate, or somewhere in between I hope you find some joy in your outdoors and breathe in the gifts that nature has to offer.
P.S. Did the groundhog see its shadow? How much longer do I get to snowshoe?