January 26, 2018 Adventures Family 9

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On a beautiful, warm Saturday afternoon, AR Jr. and I decided to get out of the house for a little adventure.  Mr. Adventure Rich was hard at work framing our new bedroom wall.  With the sunny day and Mr. AR’s need for uninterrupted work, outdoors it was!


Mrs. Adventure Rich:  “AR Jr!  Let’s head outside to play in the snow!”


AR Jr.:  “Yes!” (nodding his head) “No-shoes!”


Mrs. Adventure Rich:  “No, AR Jr, we need to put shoes on.  Could you grab your boots?”


AR Jr.:  (still nodding) “Yes!  No-shoes”


Mrs. Adventure Rich:  (slightly exasperated) “Hun, you need your boots on or your feet will get cold.”


AR Jr.: “Yeees!  NO-SHOES!” (pointing at the snowshoes outside our door)



Ah, right… no-shoes.  Snowshoes.  “No-shoes” = snowshoes in toddler-speak.  Got it.



Snowshoe Adventures



When our yard and the trails in the surrounding area decide to cozy up under a blanket of 2-4 feet of snow, hiking and strolling along the hills becomes a bit tricky.  But I cannot bring myself to hole up in our home all winter.  I have far too much nervous energy that needs to find release (and I can say the same for our toddler!).  So, do we try to trudge through thigh deep snow drifts which envelope our son?  Do stick to the slushy and slippery roads?  How do we go on our adventure walks?!?


Enter:  Snowshoes


When I was living in southern California, my parents bought themselves snowshoes and began raving about the benefits of snowshoes in the winter.  They explored the area, hiking their favorite summer trails and looping back through the woods behind their home on crisp winter days, getting exercise and enjoying the winter wonderland around them.  I was skeptical.  I don’t really know why, but for some reason, I had it in my head that snowshoeing was some wimpy, boring way to winter in the midwest.  I was mistaken.


Our first Christmas back in the midwest, my parents gifted the two of us snowshoes.  Within the first 5 minutes of using them in our yard, both Mr. Adventure Rich and I were smitten.  These magical contraptions allowed us to gracefully (um, sort of… maybe I should say “more gracefully”) traverse our land without plunging knee-deep into the snow with every step.


Suddenly, our eyes were opened to the wonder of snowshoes!  We quickly put them to use for both work and fun.  Hiking back to check on our propane tank or getting into a shed became much easier with the snowshoes, and we began making treks into our woods and through our snow-laden fields.



Snowshoe Venues



We have a somewhat unique situation with ample space to snowshoe right outside our front door.  But where can you snowshoe if this isn’t the case?


Assuming we are talking about a location with snow in the winter (sorry, Florida, you may need to drive a bit to apply this!), the snowshoeing venues abound!


Here are a few places to look…


— Hiking trails

— Parks

— Local, State and/or National Forests

— Ski Resorts

— Mountain Biking Trails

— Local Recreational Trails (those paved or two track summer trails, sometimes built atop former rail beds)

— Cross Country Ski Trails


Granted, for each of these, you may want to check to confirm snowshoeing is allowed.  For example, if a certain trail is groomed for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing may be frowned upon.



Snowshoes for Junior!


Snowshoeing with the kiddo last year.


Our son is growing quickly and is now a hefty, hearty toddler/young boy.  He is no longer content with simply “tagging along for the ride” by sitting in a sled strapped to mom or dad’s waist while we trudge through the woods with our snowshoes.  No, he needs to be a part of the action to such an extent that he promptly barrel rolls out of the sled and into the deep snow when we attempt to drag him along.


After one such episode of escapism followed by whining when he was unable to navigate through the snow that had enveloped him in a big, cold bear hug, we decided to do some research…


Google Search:  Snowshoes for 2-Year-Olds


Google Result:  Lucky Bum Youth Snowshoes


We promptly placed an order for what would become AR Jr.’s Christmas gift… a shiny pair of snowshoes just his size (14″ Size for the 2.5-year-old)!


Spoiler Alert: He is now obsessed with them.


AR Jr. has been savoring his newfound winter freedom and ability to explore via snowshoe!  Strap on the snowshoes and away he goes… across the fields, through the woods and around over to where we dumped (er, gently discarded) our Christmas tree.



Snowshoe Games


Saying “hi” to the neighboring cows 🙂


Remember that conversation I mentioned at the beginning of this article?  It took place on an unusually warm January Saturday.  Once I realized that AR Jr. was not trying to leap into snowbanks with “no-shoes” but was instead asking for his “SNOW-shoes”, we put the confusion behind us and headed outside!


Since I wanted to keep AR Jr. outside for as long as possible (warm sunny winter day = somewhat rare), I decided to try out a few snowshoe games.


Follow the Leader

Self-explanatory, I know.  One person leads… the other follows.  But I will add a word of caution.  When you allow the one who is a solid 3 feet tall to lead, you may be in trouble.  As soon as I told AR Jr. to lead the way, he took a b-line for the forest and didn’t look back, effortlessly slipping under branches that were 3’1″ high and scooting around trees like it was his job.  I, on the other hand, received numerous glances and “Mooooom… COME!” orders as I awkwardly ducked and dodged, trying to keep to his footsteps.


Follow the Tracks


Snowshoe adventures… following the rabbit tracks!


Once we emerged from the treeline, we discovered tracks!  Bunny tracks, coyote tracks, mouse tracks, squirrel tracks and unidentified animal tracks!  Next game?  Follow the tracks!


Go See the {INSERT OBJECT/SIGHT}… for us, it was “Cows”

A destination always makes the journey go a bit more quickly.  Once “follow the leader” and “follow the tracks” lost their charm, we moved onto destination snowshoe games.  Our destination?  The neighbors’ cows.  AR Jr. has a special place in his heart for cows (Side Note: AR Jr. sleeps with a cow stuffed toy.  That’s right… no teddy bears, stuffed dogs or other cuddly friends for this boy.  Cows.  Cuddly cows. (?!?) ).  So off we went to hike the fenceline, waving and saying “hi” to the cows as they lazily plodded towards their hay.


Make Shapes in the Snow


Picasso + Crop Circles


And if all else fails, making shapes in the snow can do the trick.  We adorned our yard with snowshoe crafted circles, stars, squares, and triangles… resulting in an area that looked like a cross between a Picasso painting and an elaborate crop circle.



How Do I Get Snowshoes?


Mr. & Mrs.


While Mr. Adventure Rich and I did not buy our own snowshoes (they were gifted to us), I found several options on Amazon that seem like good deals, such as the Alps and the Enkeeo brands.


I would also suggest checking out the second-hand market.  The snowshoes we have are quite sturdy and I believe they would last a few owners… so Craigslist, local “ski/winter goods” swaps, second-hand sporting stores, Goodwill and garage sales all may land you a steal!



I took a look at the local rental market for snowshoes and found the going rate to be anywhere from $15-$20/day.  If you are visiting a snowy area or plan to snowshoe only once or twice a year, this is another great way to take advantage of the winter fun and hit the trails (without the investment of purchasing a pair of your own)!



Snowshoe Fun!



So, anyone else tempted to join the snowshoe fun?  I challenge you to give it a try!  Whether you are looking for a great workout, a way to explore trails in the winter, or just trek in your snow-covered backyard, snowshoes can provide quite the adventure!


Has anyone else given a snowshoe adventure a try?  Why or why not?  Any tips or other ideas for newbie snowshoers (that’s us!) that you can share?!?


Always an Adventure,

Mrs. Adventure Rich