Snowshoeing at Ahmic Lake
This blog was written by guest blogger Marika Carter.
I had often wondered about snowshoeing – is it really easier than walking through the snow with boots on? Why not just hop on a snowmobile?
I found the biggest difference is the quietude that you can enjoy in snowshoes. My husband Richard and I gave each other snowshoes for Christmas last year. We were eager for the first snowfall to practice. I can tell you that it was awkward at first, trying to find our balance and taking wider strides than one would normally take. Once you get going, though, it is, in the words of my late mother, “a whole new world”.
We decided to go for a big walkabout on Ahmic Lake, in the “near north” of Ontario. In January, the lake is very thick with ice and covered with about a foot of snow. How wonderful it is, to walk on a lake, that a few months before we would have had to swim, canoe or otherwise boat across. We traversed across the sparkling snow, a cloudless azure sky above and the sun with its low angle casting long blue shadows – it really was a different world.
Richard and I came across large paw prints (a wolf? a coyote?) running along the shoreline, following several sharp hoof prints which were surely deer. Fascinated, we followed the shoreline until we came to a large, flattened depression in the snow. This must have been where the deer rested earlier in the day! By now the deer must be foraging in the forest again.
Meanwhile, the fragrant cedars along the shoreline bustled with tiny tweets from the various chickadees and nuthatches nestled there. The more we walked, the warmer we became – good thing we were dressed in layers! Also, bringing beverages and granola bars was a smart idea.
We continued to snowshoe and found a small island covered in jack pines that had been twisted in the direction of the prevailing wind. I wondered what creatures might be denned up in the uninhabited island. I pictured a family of wolves curled up nose to tail during a blizzard. Later, we came upon a large, snow-covered beaver dam. Again, I imagined the beaver family warm in their mud rooms with a large cache of tender twigs to tide them over until spring.
A couple of hours later, we made our way our way back to camp. Our legs were tired, but our lungs were full of fresh winter air and our souls were fully re-charged with the sights, scents and sounds of nature. Share with us your experience in nature this winter through Facebook or Twitter!