Sadly, I had lost interest in old man winter. Growing up in Seattle, I spent most of my time trying to find a little extra sunshine and the nearest beach (without rocks & driftwood). I used to love snow skiing, but a day on the slopes can get a bit expensive. Those hot toddies really add up! I wanted to fall in love with winter again. Then, I found these little babies.....snowshoes. Now, I don't mean the oversized tennis rackets my parents had in the 70's, those were meant for survival more than recreation. The aluminum snowshoes of today feel like feathers on your feet as you emerge yourself in the quiet and pure white of a freshly fallen snow.
It is one of the most relaxing and meditative things I have done in quite some time. I would compare it to yoga, but I wear far too many layers of clothing for that. For my sports enthusiasts, trails range from easy to backcountry, and you can look forward to a minimum 500-calorie burn per hour depending upon terrain and speed. All the more reason to stop by your favorite burger joint on the way home.
Snowshoeing is one of the least expensive winter sports, and can be enjoyed at all ages. Try renting a set for the day before you invest in your own equipment, although my shoes, poles, and carrying case only set me back $160, so just a few rentals and you've already payed for it. I found my Women's Winter Walkers online at L.L. Bean https://www.llbean.com
I find that I wear the same clothing for snowshoeing as I do for skiing. Keep in mind however, that you will be working up quite a sweat within the first 15 minutes, so be prepared to shed some layers. I always carry a small backpack for storing extra clothing and housing snacks, water, and small emergency kit. My new favorite is a hydration backpack with the built-in water bladder.
I swear by my Sorel Tivoli Snow Boots, but a good waterproof hiking boot is also a suitable alternative. And because my fingers are notorious for getting cold, I toss hand warmers into my gloves before I even start the trail.
Not only is snowshoeing a great form of exercise for those seeking low-impact, it's also a wonderful social activity that brings friends together to savor winter's landscape.
A great site for trail information if you're in the Washington State area is http://www.wta.org
We also love the book Snowshoe Routes - Washington by Dan A. Nelson. You can refer to this book during the winter months for snowshoeing, and again in the spring and summer for day hikes.
Some Washington State trails may require a Discover Pass.
For more information visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov