Stomping on Snowshoes

In honor of heart month, I recently made my heart race by venturing out into 20-degree weather and strapping on some snowshoes. Let’s just say that snowshoeing is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t enjoy a good physical challenge, snowshoeing would probably fall somewhere on your list of least favorite activities.

This was my first experience with snowshoeing and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I took a guided tour on Sugar Mountain in North Carolina and an adventurous man named Doug served as the guide. He kept making references to “back in the 80s on this mountain” so I am assuming he is a fulltime ski bum that enjoys making his living on the mountain. If that’s the case, I am a tad bit envious of his life.

I expected Doug to take us out to some flat, desolate trail but instead we headed straight  up the slopes that everyone else was skiing and snowboarding down. I had no idea we’d be snowshoeing up a mountain and it honestly caught me a little of guard but I immediately embraced the experience. I ended up loving the challenge and was quite comfortable with the upward climb.

During our rest periods, I couldn’t help but think what all the snowboarders and skiers must be saying about us. I am a snowboarder and chances are if I saw some fools snowshoeing up a mountain I’d definitely be making fun of them!

Anyway, it was a fun way to get some good exercise and learn a little Sugar Mountain history. Doug taught us all about snowmaking and even shared with us that in order to make water freeze quicker, they mix it with ina (ice nucleation-active) proteins from a certain bacterium that is apparently found on strawberry leaves. According to Doug, some study showed that water freezes faster on strawberry leaves than anywhere else so an unknown genius thought of the idea to use the bacterium found on the leaves in the snowmaking process. The story went something like that, anyway. Interesting, right?

I’m not a scientist, engineer, or biologist so take what I say with a grain of salt and feel free to comment below if what I just said is completely inaccurate. Regardless, I learned a lot of little facts from Doug about snowmaking, trees going extinct, etc. His knowledge was pretty impressive and I enjoyed the dialogue during our tour. Too bad it was so short lived and only lasted an hour or so.

I’d love to go snowshoeing again, but I would love to do it on uninhabited trails so it can be a more serene experience. Snowshoeing is like hiking and I feel it should be an opportunity to arouse your senses. There was just too much activity going on for me to really have a relaxing time. Doug recommended traveling to Roan Mountain State Park in Tennessee for a more peaceful environment. Rumor has it that there are tons of trails to snowshoe and cross country ski on during the winter. I will definitely research Roan Mountain!

Do you know of any good places to snowshoe on the east coast?


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