I got to break in my snowshoes — at home

The abrupt change in weather prevented me from sighting in my new rifle last week, but it allowed me to finally use my birthday present. I had the opportunity to break in my new snowshoes.

I had been waiting to go up to the woods to use my new snowshoes, but Mother Nature brought me plenty of snow to shoe over right in my own yard over the weekend.

It’s a darn good thing I got those snowshoes for my birthday. There were drifts between our house and the cow and horse sheds that were above my waist. I tried to get through without the snowshoes, and I just sunk in to the point I couldn’t go forward any more. So I went back to the house and buckled on my fancy new snowshoes.

I’d forgotten what a difference snowshoes make. My older pair of snowshoes should probably be hanging on a wall somewhere, but I used them for several years. They’re the old beavertail kind, made of a wood frame and rawhide webbing. And they’re huge. If you want to turn around while you’re wearing them, you need a clear, unobstructed acre to get it done.

And those old shoes did keep me mostly on top of the snow, but I still sunk in six or seven inches. Depending on the consistency of the snow, sometimes even a foot. Then I had to lift my foot and that heavy snowshoe out of the hole and step again. It was tough work.

The new shoes are much more efficient, as I discovered when I went out to check on the calf and feed the critters on Sunday. Even though the drifts were fairly soft, I was able to cruise right over them. I only sank in a few inches, and the shoes were much lighter than the old ones. I was enjoying being able to stay on top of the snow so much, after I fed, I stayed out there in the 50-mph wind and strafing snow for another hour. Now I can’t wait for it to snow again.

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