An Unconventional Sport

January Sun Up

January Sun Up

I can’t help but laugh when I hear folks say they are bored and tired of the dreary winter days. There is so much going on out there but – you just gotta get out. Yea it’s a little cold sometimes but it is January. I was out early on Saturday morning and saw this great sunrise. Saw a lot of elk, eagles and a coyote bookin’ across the open, all just from the highway. With gas at less than two dollars a gallon, one can afford to go for a ride and at least get out of the house.

 

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The picture above was a small bunch of about thirty head of elk. The herds in the area I frequent are broken up in many smaller bunches this winter as a result of the late season hunts but they are real easy to see and always a blast to watch.

It is all about winter out here, as you can see below, the highway is a sheet of ice and the wind was blowing pretty good, but I say again, there is plenty going on.

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So now let me talk a little about a winter sport that I am newly enjoying. I am talking about snowshoeing. I have always looked at snow shoes as something one could use if you had to get somewhere in deep snow. The past couple of years though I have been out a number of times on borrowed shoes and it was a bit of a challenge but somewhat rewarding and I was able to get some places I would not have made it to without the shoes. So what I learned on the borrowed shoes is what I didn’t like about the shoes and what I needed to find when I decided to purchase a pair of snowshoes for myself.

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This year I made the leap and I did purchase shoes and I couldn’t be happier. Snow shoeing has become a winter activity for me that I can think of as being a sport and a key factor is the type of shoe purchased. I searched and studied online and came across the website for BIGFOOT SNOW SHOES. The site will guide you through the style and sizing process and you can end up with the right shoe. After that when it comes to purchase there are great deals on the purchase of multiple pairs. The multiple pair purchase includes poles and a carry bag. I am by no means an expert but as stated before I did learn what doesn’t work. The wrong type of binding will make things miserable which takes all the fun out of the day. For me the ratchet binding on the Bigfoot shoe works great. These bindings open up to fit any of the boots I wear and they allow me to adjust the shoe on my boot so they are on just the way I want them.  Once I have them positioned I can cinch them down and they don’t move so out into the snow I trek.

I also like that my heal picks up off the shoe which lets the toe of the shoe tip up and that helps in the powder snow. Once out on shoes there are many things to do. Hiking trails, chasing coyotes or wolves, photography (which we all know I’m not very good at) or just getting out to see some new country are all great pastimes in the often dreaded days of winter. Shoes make for a fun family time, just like summer hikes with the kids with some added shivering and snowball fights. Something you will learn just like hiking in the summer is that going uphill is sometimes slow and physical but going down hill even with snow shoes is a cruz. I can’t believe how much ground I can cover in all kinds of snow!

So with only one more weekend of football season left there will be no more excuse to hang out on the couch and eat chicken wings and potato chips.  Get outside and DO SOMETHING!!!!  Try some snow shoeing and live life in Outdoor Montana!

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