Shoppe Talk: Throwback Article "Walking on (Frozen) Water"
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Walking on (frozen) water
Off the Beaten Path by Scott Williams, Stevens Point Journal
Saturday, March 15, 1997
Snowshoeing experience opens eyes
When Rolf Garthus invited me to do some snowshoeing during a recent afternoon, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect.
I agreed to take him up on his offer, considering I had nothing better to do that day.
Plus, the thought of getting out and snowshoeing on a nice late-winter afternoon had piqued my interest for some time.
I arrived for the outing with a bit of apprehension, but an open mind.
The way I figured, any negative thoughts would only serve to get the adventure off on the wrong foot. There is no need to condemn an activity, something I have been accused of in the past, before giving it a chance.
What was the worst thing that could happen to me? With Rold as my tour guide through the woods, getting lost didn't seem within the realm of possibilities.
Even if I had trouble keeping up with Rolf or spent more time on the ground than actually walking, I'm pretty sure Rolf wouldn't leave me to die in the woods.
Now you must remember this is still winter and the temperatures this day were hovering around the freezing mark.
So I dressed in what I thought was appropriately for the occasion - jeans, a sweatshirt, and a winter coat.
I would soon find out how the shirt got its name. Less than 15 minutes into our excursion I was sweating bullets and shedding clothes faster than calories, I'm sure.
That turn of events hardly took anything away from the monumental enjoyment I derived from the activity.
Any concerns about the snowshoes being cumbersome or clumsy were quickly put to rest.
Hiking through snow-covered woods on a pair of snowshoes took no more effort than walking barefoot on a sandy beach in the summer.
The aerobic benefits were obvious from the first step.
However, the sensation of being able to walk on wet snow without sinking ankle deep in the stuff was truly remarkable.
But that paled in comparison to the spectacular scenery we encountered during our lengthy trip through the kettle moraines of the Amherst area.
We started out walking along the banks of Spring Creek, whose waters were moving quickly past us.
We stopped at points as Rolf pointed out pockets of spring water bubbling out from the sandy creek bed on a tributary of the creek.
We crossed vast open fields only to be greeted by more forest. Scaling a steep, 100-foot wooded incline proved to serve as quite a workout.
Once we reached the top, not only did I wish to enjoy the view from the top of the hill, where we could see for miles around us in every direction, but to be honest and I needed a moment to catch my breath.
It was the only point in the entire 3-miles outing that I can honestly say I felt any degree of fatigue.
The rest of the time was spent studying the landscape, as we followed a complicated network of deer paths through the woods, making the trek a little easier on ths novice.
That is not to say that we didn't do some off-roading, so to speak. We spent a portion of the journey making our own path.
And it was during that time that we were fortunate enough to come across a deer leaping through the woods in front of us, obviously not all that thrilled about greeting some uninvited guests.
We visited terrain that would have been off limits on a pair of cross-country skis.
Approximately an hour and a half later, we returned to our starting point no worse for wear, although a tad wet from the mixture of rain and snow that moved in during the latter stages of the outing.
I was sold. Whenever my bank account allows, I have every intention of purchasing a set of snowshoes. And there is no time like the present to give them a try.
Rolf may have summed it up best.
"There isn't a better way to go out bird watching or scouting out turkey areas," saud Garthus, an avid and devoted nordic skier.
"A lot of people get bummed out at this time of the year, because skiing is pretty much over and biking hasn't started yet.
"This is the perfect time for snowshoeing. You can start earlier (in winter) and go later."
Count me among the believers.
Williams, S. (1997, March 15). Walking on (frozen) water. Stevens Point Journal, pp. L6–L5.