What was the northernmost part of our country like a million plus years ago during the Ice Age? Well, mega ice sheets covered the landscape and a third of earth’s land was impacted. But, let’s look at Wisconsin specifically, for … Continue reading
On a moonlit evening with 14 college students, I parked the university van at a trailhead where we put on our snowshoes and began our somewhat challenging hike up Rib Mountain toward the summit. This was just one of several … Continue reading
What’s a Yooper? From The Associated Press caption, dated May 19, 2014, reads, “Da ‘Yoopers’ added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary celebrating residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.” Yes, in April that year, Merriam-Webster added: “Yooper noun: a native or resident of … Continue reading
Eighteen college students and I were scheduled to take our winter snowshoeing and snow camping fieldtrip in northern Wisconsin on an early December weekday. It was over an hour drive to our destination.
I carefully watched the weather report several … Continue reading
In 2013, Wisconsin’s 134 cheese plants produced 2,842,456,000 pounds of cheese, accounting for 25.5 percent of the total U.S. cheese production (according to a 2014 Dairy Data report, Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Service and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture). This must be … Continue reading
Devil’s Lake lies in one of Wisconsin’s most scenic and treasured state parks. Its trails take hikers and snowshoers up on quartzite rock bluffs 500 feet above a scenic 360-acre spring fed glacial lake, and through the forested Baraboo Hills.… Continue reading
For several years, I led college students on a weekend winter camping adventure annually as part of a backpacking and camping course that I taught at a Wisconsin university. On one such occasion, we hiked to our campsite on bare … Continue reading
A magic hat is what turned Frosty into a real walking and talking snowman. As written by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, the lyrics go like this:
“There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found. … Continue reading
Our plastic sleds and backpacks were loaded for what seemed to be a three-week trip rather than the actual three-day trip we had planned. Bungee cords held duffle bags and coolers in place as six friends and I prepared for … Continue reading
It was a cold and snowy January in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the eve of my 13th birthday back in the 1960s. Five of us Boy Scouts experienced winter camping for the very first time. We packed in … Continue reading
A far away snowshoeing adventure is always exciting. It also takes planning, time and money when a trip involves distance and an overnight stay. But if you live where there is snow, finding a snowshoeing location close to home can … Continue reading
At 6 a.m. my alarm goes off. I hit the snooze control for just five more minutes of rest. The darn thing goes off again. I’m up, my eyes are half-open and my body moves at a slow pace….picking up … Continue reading
Kids, teens, young adults and parents all seem to enjoy my “what’s in my pack” game. With a fictitious story of having to carry necessities for safety and comfort in my daypack for a full day of snowshoeing on trails … Continue reading
Have you ever wondered why we snowshoe? While in psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud may have said something to the snowshoe enthusiast like, “Due to a possible repression of your early fixation manifestations, you resolved your subconscious conflicts by simply taking up … Continue reading
Moses stretched out his hand and the Red Sea parted. I assume he held his wooden staff in the other hand. Note, that he did not have dual hiking poles…just a single staff.
When I snowshoe, I do not part … Continue reading
Over many years of snowshoeing, I humbly learned lots of lessons through experience. A few years ago while on a short adventure out west, I learned that snow and snowshoeing is different there than in the Great Lakes region of … Continue reading
“When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The … Continue reading
Knowing the past and living in the present always leaves us wondering about the future. Knowing about the history of snowshoeing, and being actively involved in the sport today, activates the imagination to wonder what snowshoeing would be like in … Continue reading
Gearing up for the season by a downhill skier implies that they not only have to get out their ski’s, poles, boots, goggles, special clothing and ski rack for their car, but they also have to purchase their season ski … Continue reading
It was dawn, about 6 AM when I awoke to the bellowing call of a loon. I am used to waking up at that time automatically with or without an alarm clock… since it has been the time I wake … Continue reading
Mount Rainier crevasse climb with Eric Roche
I do not do high adventure. I am more of a low adventure kind of guy doing snowshoeing, hiking, backpacking, quiet-water canoeing and camping whereby my feet are close to the ground or … Continue reading
In my outdoor journal for March 14, 2012, I wrote, “The thermometer read 77 degrees on our way home from work. This is highly unusual weather.” I continued, “The snow is gone. The weather report said we are 12.3 inches … Continue reading
My great, great grandmother on my father’s side of the family was Angelique Beaudoin (pronounced bo-d’uah). She was referred to as a “metis”, meaning that her parents were of mixed races. Her father was French Canadian and her mother was … Continue reading
Clement C. Moore expressed it poetically in The Night before Christmas when he wrote, “The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below.” I think of this passage just about every time … Continue reading
I have lived in Wisconsin for nearly 30 years. But Escanaba, located in Northern Michigan is my home town. I grew up there and left the state at age 22 to attend graduate school. Northern Michigan sits above the Mackinac … Continue reading
Snowshoeing participation increased by 11.4 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to Outdoor Foundation’s “Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report 2011.” Backpacking participation also had an increase of 9.2 percent. Both categories showed significant increases compared to several other outdoor recreation … Continue reading
I discovered an interesting book published in 2007 on sex and camping by Michelle Waitzman titled “Sex in a Tent: a Wild Couple’s Guide to Getting Naughty in Nature.” The book informs couples how to plan backcountry trips, as well … Continue reading
Little to no snow in April is indeed an April fool's joke to me since there is no more snowshoeing. In Wisconsin, we do get the occasional end of season snow storm. But it melts in a couple days as warm fronts move in, and there is never enough snow to warrant putting on my snowshoes.
During the holiday season a large numbers of Americans annually watch Frank Capra's “It's A Wonderful Life.” In this classic movie, George Bailey, played by James Stewart is shown by his guardian angel all the lives he touched and his contributions to the Bedford Falls community. George's community also came together in the end to help save him and his family's building-and-loan company. A sense of community was the theme throughout the film.
Why do people snowshoe? What values do they hold dear to them when it comes to snowshoeing? Why should we be concerned with values of snowshoers? In response…there are a myriad of reasons why people snowshoe. They all hold differing values when it comes to winter recreation. And it is of concern, because it tells the snowshoeing industry something about the people who participate in the sport.
The “family that plays together stays together” is a good adage for why snowshoeing as a family can be an enriching activity to foster healthy values and enrich relationships.
Although I am a flatlander from Wisconsin, I now and then have to attack hills on snowshoes. Perhaps they are small hills, but none the less...hills.
I chuckle when I receive an e-mail from a student that addresses me as “Professor Joque.” I have to admit, I never heard of a professor of snowshoeing before. But since I teach occasional snowshoeing courses as an adjunct adventure educator at a university, I do appreciate the respect my students give me as an instructor of the very popular and healthy sport of snowshoeing.
Last year during spring break, my wife Liz and I flew from Wisconsin to Colorado to visit relatives. On a beautiful March morning we drove to Bear Lake. At 9,475 feet above sea level, this scenic haven is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park several miles out of Estes Park. I was chomping at the bit to experience some mountain snowshoeing for the first time, considering I only snowshoe in the Midwest. After a short trek around the lake, Liz decided to go back to the car to take a nap while I ventured off solo on a beautiful winter wonderland trail heading away from the heavily visited area.
"What kind of traditional snowshoes are slightly oval, offering good maneuverability around objects but lacking good tracking ability? A) Alaskan B) Ojibwa, C) Michigan, D) Bearpaw." As kids huddle to discuss the question, they finally deliver the answer with confidence and vigor. "It's D, Bearpaw!" I respond, "Correct; move ahead to your next color." Obviously, these children are playing a snowshoeing game.
A claim to fame for snowshoeing is that it is considered one of the least expensive outdoor sports, given that all you need are snowshoes. And true, for about $150 you are off and running, or hiking. But like any other recreation, there are always those little extra things you can buy and use that fall under the classification of "accessories." As I prepare to head out for a day of snowshoeing on a backcountry trail, there are accessories that I take with me. Some of those accessories are for convenience and some are essential to safety.
Over the past half century, there has been a significant increase of visitors to our wilderness areas and public lands. According to the National Park Service, area visitors increased from 33 million in 1950 to over 287 million in 2000. Likewise, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service showed a substantial increase in the number of people using designated wilderness areas over nearly four decades; with roughly 4 million in 1964, 7 million in 1974, 15 million in 1984, 21 million in 1994, and nearly 30 million in 2000.
I was snowshoeing alone one evening in the Big Eau Pleine Park near Wausau, Wisconsin. This scenic 1,450 acre county park is located on a peninsula that jets out into the Big Eau Pleine Flowage. I began at the trailhead and hiked along the edge of the ski trail. It was in the late afternoon. At a point on the trail, I referenced my compass and decided to go off-trail and head west, since there was not much daylight remaining to finish hiking the entire circle.
As a kid, I remember we played in the sandbox during warm weather on Saturday afternoons. And during winter, we played in the snow. We would make a snow fort and have snowball fights. To end the day, we made a magnificent snowman wearing a scarf and hat, carrot for a nose, and coal for its eyes and mouth. How I loved those Saturdays.
"This was real adventure, snowshoeing into deep winter. And I was relieved that I was getting along so well on my snowshoes. I had read of agonizing cramps from them. But Bill said that was from walking too tensely. So when I grew tired I walked with an extreme loppiness, and that rested me."
Basketball, volleyball, football or kickball, you name it and it can be played in the snow on snowshoes. All you need is a little creativity and modification to the rules. The bases were loaded and a large orange beach ball was being rolled on a beaten-down path of snow toward the player. It was kicked high in the air. The outfielder tried to catch the fly-ball but fumbled, and in came most of the runners for a streak of homeruns for the team.
As a young child in the 50s, I remember my mother putting me into a snowsuit that had pants, coat, and hood all in one piece. It was made of a stiff cotton fabric that froze like a Popsicle on a wet winter day. My arms stuck out straight making me resemble a very short scarecrow.
"Alright you guys, I'm going to demonstrate how to step-slide or run down this hill." I continued by saying, "Plant your weight directly above your shoe, shifting some of your weight slightly to your heels and take big steps as you go down. Be sure to lift your toes so your snowshoes are parallel to the horizon." Down I went briskly but with tact.
In any type of training or instruction, a teacher first asks him or herself, "What is it I want my students to learn?" So, they establish an objective that would identify what it is they want students to be able to do when they are finished with training. This would be the learning outcome. The most obvious objective in learning to snowshoe would be for someone to acquire the skill of walking on snowshoes.
Two teams of college students vivaciously run between two suspended hoops on poles, as one member slam-dunks a ball through one of the hoops. The ball is passed to an opposing team member who anxiously waits out of bounds to set that ball in motion once again. And the rush toward the hoop on the other end of the court begins all over. It's that good old American sport of basketball. But in this game it is played a little differently.