Well, hello there, December.
November is over, and Christmas carols are jingling in every store and on radio stations all over the country. If you’re like me, you’re frantically trying to meet the year-end demands of your job, keep up with the rest of your normal life (laundry, bills, errands), and gear up for the holiday season. Did you put up your decorations? Send out holiday cards? Did you get all of your holiday shopping done on Black Friday? Cyber Monday? Then you’re way ahead of me, because I have exactly two presents purchased, and I picked them up while on vacation in September, so that doesn’t totally count.
What’s more, now the weather has turned cold (and, if you live in the Northeast, wet with impending frozen on the horizon). It’s no longer the “ideal” hiking season in New England. I hold out hope that there might be one more good weekend day, but it doesn’t seem likely. From here on out, it will be either too wet, too frozen, or too snowy to do a “standard” hike — in some places, it already is.
What is a casual solo hiker to do? It’s true that some people enjoy winter hiking; it’s not something I have done very much of at all. So this year, in honor of the first winter of Her Side, and as a holiday present to myself and to all my readers, I’m going to try something completely new…something I have wanted to try for a while but never got around to.
I’m going snowshoeing.
That way I can report back to you all and let you know how it goes. Don’t say I’m not here for you.
Now, the idea makes me a little nervous, because it’s completely unknown. I’ve only ever seen snowshoes hanging on the walls in kitschy chain restaurants. I’ve never had snowshoes on my feet, never mind tried to walk in them, and I am not known for physical coordination. I don’t have snowshoes, and wouldn’t know where to go even if I did.
A little research, however, revealed that there are places that will rent you snowshoes, give you lessons, and then point you in the direction of well-known trails so you can try it out. I’m going to go there, probably in January (after the holiday frenzy is over and we’ve had some good snowfall). Maybe I’ll even go for Winter Trails Day (which, as best I can tell, is snowshoe-tastic and has lots of stuff for free, including guided tours and demos). Looks exciting!
I might drag a friend along, or I might go alone and look forward to meeting like-minded souls. The point is to try something new, and not be intimidated by the unknown. While it can be scary to set out on a solo adventure, chances are there is a way to do it without plunging headlong into the abyss. To get your feet wet — or snowy, as the case may be — before taking on a bigger solo challenge. This applies to regular hiking as well: a little uncertain about your ability to handle a particular trail? See if there’s a guided hike there or somewhere similar. Take a class. Find a group. Don’t let yourself be held back by the intimidation of the unknown. Embrace it and find a way to…well, to know it.
Now, pardon me, I need to get back to my holiday shopping…
© Her Side of the Mountain, 2009.