We didn't really know what to expect with only a couple of inches of snow on the ground; nevertheless everyone came prepared for a hike on snowshoes. Last Wednesday we held our Seniors on Snowshoes workshop. The weather hovered around 2C with gray skies but that did not deter the participants. Everyone was excited to learn about traditional snowshoes and experience ( the first time for some of the participants) a snowshoe walk on our nature trails.
Bob spoke about the 5 traditional snowshoes.
The Huron snowshoe, also known as the Beavertail, is teardrop shaped, with a wide, long rounded front and a long, narrow tail. These shoes helped to track straight through flat trails or rolling terrain and drifts.
Bear Paw Snowshoe
The Bear Paw, a short, oval shaped shoe, lacking a tail.These shoes These shoes were ideal for walking on firm snow through forests and thick woodlands. They were slow but offered the wearer maneuverability.
The Bear Paw was later modified, called the Modified Bear Paw. They were not as wide as the Bear Paw snowshoe and were made longer.
The Ojibwa snowshoes have a pointed long trailer and predominantly upturned toes. It can be as long as 5 feet and is best in deep, crusty snow and open spaces.
The Alaskan or Yukon has a long unique shape. It is primarily used up north for long-distance hiking in open fields, across lakes and crossing the tundra. They offer great stability in snow and on ice.
These life-saving implements were paramount to the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Snowshoes were needed to survive our harsh winters, permitting the wearer to hunt, explore and travel long distances over deep snow. Made of ash wood and rawhide they were strong, durable and vital.
Today, snowshoes are made of composite materials and aluminum, equipped with crampons and cleats. This revolutionized the dimensions and weight of modern day snowshoes. Today for us, snowshoeing is not a matter of survival, but one of enjoyment and exercise. It is considered a fantastic winter sport, a great way to discover beautiful surroundings and to experience adventures in nature.
Snowshoeing burns more calories than walking, it helps our cardiovascular system, builds endurance, strengthens balance and agility and improves our sense of well-being by connecting with nature.
Participants on Wetland Hike
Bob teaching about Wetland Trees
Bob led us into the wetlands and he talked about upland and wetland trees, lichens, liverworts and mammal tracks. We then geared up, strapping on our snowshoes and hiked our trails along the north and west boundary lines of the centre. Definitely a fun experience. We finished up by the campfire, had lunch and hot chocolate all the while telling long and short "stories". All in all a great morning!
Participants on Snowshoes on Hiking Trail
Next event: Mammal Tracking; Let Your Inner Detective Shine
Saturday, January 28th. 2023 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM.