Urban Snowshoeing

The sun beckoned again in Boston after the big snow a few weeks ago,
so I called up my friend John P and headed over to the Middlesex Fells
reservation for a couple of hours of naked snowshoe hiking. John
knows of a forgotten corner of the park where we found no footprints
in the snow. The two of us were able to enjoy a good 45 minutes to
an hour of stomping around fully naked under the February sun. All
told, we were out in the snow (textile the rest of the time of course)
for almost three hours, a much needed winter break.

The sun was warm, the snow was bright, much less accumulation than
right after our big storm, but still plenty deep. Here in this
suburb on the northern border of Boston, on this gift of a day where
the temperature soared into the upper 40s (F), we first followed the
dog-walker's trails into the park, then turned aside and pushed
through some persistent wild raspberry thickets in the shadow of Rt
93, as the trucks and cars rumbled by over our heads. After a time
following a bit of rigorous non-trail, our direction veered away from
the highway. Presently, we came to a small forest where we found the
hardwoods standing tall against the modest hillsides. Pausing just
beyond direct view of the highway, and stepping behind a glacial
outcast, in the form of a large boulder, we dropped the rest of our
clothing, and our packs, and began our walk anew. Nothing now
between our skins and the nippy but benevolently restrained breeze.

The noise of the highway quickly faded as we moved deeper into this
secluded refuge. This new little world stretched before us in its
winter garb, the trees as naked as we now were. Rock outcroppings
were poking here and there, through the bright snow and underbrush,
lending an earthy counterpoint to the rolling but otherwise endless
white sheet. All evidence of trail concealed beneath the snow, left
us to read the contours of the land and make our own trails. Walking
over the snow covered landscape, wet on top, but still frozen
underneath gives one a unique access to the area and license to
bushwack in a way not possible during the warmer months. Everything,
was at once familiar, yet all was new for the eye to behold as never
before, the clear blue sky above, encouraging us and implying that
all was well for this fine February day. As we fell into that unique
snowshoe gallup, a kind of slightly extended gait with its own rhythm
that one only finds on snowshoes, we got to talking about how February
is slipping by. At that moment, the two of us resolved to put an end
to my cabin fever. We plotted some more naked mischief for our near
future, this time to be in Vermont.

freewalkerma 2013

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