Trekking Tales: Making new snowshoe tracks

The trees and shrubs along the lane and in backyards beside us, all drooping with ice and snow, were transformed into a myriad shapes

We have several doggie visitors who consider our place to be their home-away-from-home, no matter what the season.

Two were on duty as I set off for a short snowshoe hike after recent snow had all but covered old tracks.

Long-legged Jake, the standard black poodle, bounded effortlessly away as we set out. Behind him, with her self-proclaimed job as defender of all local territory, barking decisively, ran Paris, where John had just finished snow-blowing.

“Oof, oof!” stated our neighbour’s pint-sized cocker spaniel, but only briefly. Her run ended abruptly as she left bare ground and leapt into untouched snow.

She was high-centred. Jake and I continued on our adventure leaving an embarrassed Paris and my slaving husband doing his least favourite job for probably the third time in as many days.

The trees and shrubs along the lane and in backyards beside us, all drooping with ice and snow, were transformed into a myriad shapes, some with elephant trunks, others with pixie hats.

The world into which we intruded was white and wonderful.I’ve probably walked these lanes hundreds of times in the past seven years, and something is always different, entertaining, entrancing.

This time the trees and over-hanging branches changed the scene so much that I didn’t always know how far along the trail I had slogged.

Deer had been there before us, in and out of the bush as well as choosing the easier terrain of the open lane. I’ve seen lots of rabbit tracks this year, and plenty had left their three-footed tracks that day, plus more.

Although these critters seldom appear, I enjoy their hidden presence.Turning down a less-used lane, Jake began taking advantage of my tracks, occasionally stepping on the back of a snowshoe.

When I’m walking faster and he does that, I’ve often pitched forward for a wet, cold face-plant. I remained upright this time though, with my awkward, snow-laden, unwieldy feet even negotiating a few fallen trees successfully.

On Ogden Road, a wide-tired vehicle wearing chains had squished the snow, making walking easier and giving Jake his own parallel track. Realizing that I was still moving slowly, my thoughts went backwards to the many times I’ve hiked with Girl Guides.

On one occasion an International camp was touring the Kootenays. We’d been taken across Slocan Lake by boat to hike up and up through tall trees to a giants’ playground of huge mossy rocks. In my normal spot at the end of the line (no way I could keep up with the front group).

I tried every trick and clever line I could think of to propel the tail-enders who were dragging themselves along.

“If you go faster, you’ll find it is less tiring,” I advised these fit young ladies. Even so, many of the early arrivals had finished their lunches beside a pretty creek by the time we arrived.Back in the snowy present, I took my own advice to complete a convoluted loop.

Sunshine was emerging as I reached home.Here John, though still slaving, was about done. Paris, and Gypsy our precocious cat, would also appreciate his efforts – at least until the next snowfall.

We chuckled on seeing Jake’s snowball-covered legs, prematurely-white inquisitive snout and masculine moustache.I stretch the term “trekking” to some wide angles in these tales, but this felt real.

Well, at least I’d been plodding through the snow for longer than it had taken me to put on all my outdoor layers before heading out there for my lovely trek.



Clearwater Times