My Pair of Wooden Snowshoes

With winter coming around it’s time to switch gears to different activities.  For me, summer means paddling and fishing.  Winter means quiet walks in the woods.  It’s time to break out the snowshoes and prepare them for the winter.

For me, my snowshoes have kind of come full circle.  I remember one Christmas when we all got a pair of wooden, modified bear paws from LL Bean.  We spent the winter exploring old woods roads and finding new trails to walk along each week.  Growing up, it was something we often did as a family. It’s a good way to get outdoors and didn’t really require a lot of skill.  Later on, I graduated to something more technical, metal snowshoes made with built in crampons and more suited to mountaineering.  I got into climbing some of the mountains in the area.  A few years ago though, we started having winters with some deep, powdery snows.  I started wanting something with a bigger deck, made more for those conditions.  As my parents work as antique dealers, I had them on the lookout at the auctions for a big pair in an Alaskan pattern.  I got an old vintage pair, marked C.A. Lund.  I think I paid all of fifty bucks.

As I understand it, they’re military surplus.  They may have been used in either WWII or Korea.  The ones I have are marked with the name Lt. H.L. Kannor in what looks like sharpie marker.  If that rings a bell for anyone, please feel free to contact me with any information you may have on him.  In any event, they were perfectly usable.  The webbing was all strong and tight. After a few coats of marine grade polyurethane and some new bindings, I was good to go.

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As with many things, these snowshoes are made for a specific purpose.  They are good for flat ground and deep powder.  In the field out back, when the snow was two feet thick, I only sank six inches.  I could almost walk along as if it were ground.  These are absolutely the snowshoes to use in that specific scenario.  They’re also quiet.  The creak you hear from modern aluminum snowshoes just doesn’t happen.  However please know that they are absolutely awful for any kind of uneven terrain.  When crossing a narrow ditch alongside a road one day, I just had to take them off.  It was like I had five foot boards strapped to my feet.  Still, you make due.

When winter comes, so many people just shut down.  Stay in where it’s warm and wait until the spring.  It’s kind of a shame.  That’s a long time to be inside four walls.

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