Sunday, January 29, 2017

Snowshoeing is fun, but gravity sucks

Did someone increase the Earth's gravitational pull and not tell me?
Because I did not get the memo.
My query is based on an experience I had on the weekend.
The Missus and I wanted to break free from the cabin fever gripping our souls and venture into the great outdoors where the air is fresh and you can pee on a tree without getting weird looks from your neighbours.
As this is not exactly hiking weather, we got our hands – well, our feet actually – on some snowshoes and headed for the back country to commune with nature and frolic in the woodland realm that is our majestic country.
This was the first time I had donned the large footwear in many years. The last time I ventured onto snow in such a manner was when I was a teenager in the army reserve.
We were on a two-day exercise in the middle of winter several kilometres in the mountains. We were flown in by Chinook helicopter -— those massive double-prop choppers –— and dumped somewhere in the mountains. Exactly where I am not sure, but I did know it had snow, a lot of snow.
So much in fact that when we jumped out of the back of the helicopter, the man in front of me disappeared. I mean one second he was there, the next he was gone.
As soon as I jumped out, I knew why because I sank up to my man nipples in snow and I was 10 inches taller than he was.
We managed to swim through the snow to the tree line where the powder was more manageable. I dug out the snowshoes I was issued and attempted to put them on. These were old-style snowshoe, and by old style I mean pre-Second World War vintage.
The age of the snowshoe was not a problem, but the fact they had no bindings to hold them to my feet made wearing them slightly more challenging.
I dug out some shoelaces from by backpack and fashioned some bindings so I could play soldier for the next 48 hours. Of course, at least half the snowshoes we were issued had no bindings, so everyone was getting creative in holding them to their feet.
We ran up hills, across fields, down hills and up more hills on those rickety old snowshoes, all the while carrying a rifle and a backpack full of stuff.
Now, fast forward 30 or so years and I have a very nice pair of snowshoes with the newest style bindings. They were light weight, stuck to my feet like glue and were easy to manage.
I did not have a backpack or weaponry of any sort, but the first steep hill we encountered nearly gave me a heart attack.
Which brings me to the question of when did Earth's gravitational pull increase so much? What other reason could there be?
I am a little older than the last time I snowshoed, well, OK, a lot older. I am also a little heavier, well, OK, a lot heavier, but still...
I have remained regularly active over the years (no, really, I have) and am not in horrific shape. Sure I am not exactly a mighty athlete (sumo wrestlers are athletes) but I did not think I was that out of shape, so it must be the increase in Earth's gravity that got me.
By the time the outdoor adventure was over, I was sweating like a fat guy in a sauna — or rather, a somewhat round guy on snowshoes.
Despite the challenges, sweat, a sore knee and general complaints from my flabby body, I had a great time and Missus and I plan on going out again.
I just hope Earth's gravity is back to normal by then.


Copyright 2017, Darren Handschuh

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