Sunday, November 21, 2010

Running in Mukluks; Snowshoeing,–20, and Snowy Reviews

Last week when I went out for my run, I was so disappointed that snow had not yet fallen, and that it was still relatively warm, and that the mukluks would not be used for their original intent.However, a week of Alberta weather changed everything by dumping over a foot of snow in the Bragg Creek / Cochrane area and plummeting temperatures to where they should be. Yeah, yeah, let’s go snowshoeing.


Four of us headed out to Silver Line in West Bragg creek to take advantage of cold weather. The temperature in the vehicle says it was –23 on the way out there. Oh yeah!!!


Over the past summer, I went mountain biking here. Those details can be found here. This area in West Bragg Creek is known for it’s cross country ski trails, and I was surprised to find unbroken trails. I thought that the recent snowfall would have brought the xc-skiers out sooner, but lucky for us they had not broken all the trails.


Friends of mine came with me. These two love the outdoors (moved all the way to Canada for it), but this was their first time snowshoeing.


This guy came on the Baldy Scramble with me back in August. I told him there would be no injuries this time. It was his first time snowshoeing as well, and he had very stylish faded red snowshoes. Snowshoes don’t really do much in a few inches of powder snow, until you take them off and try walking uphill. It’s amazing what those beasties can do for you on a slope.


There obviously were some skiers out ahead of us, but we didn’t run into anyone until later on in the hike. It was absolutely gorgeous out! The snowfall made for some very cool looking trees.


My snowshoes of choice are GV Huron’s. Traditional style baby. I used to use lampwick as my binding, but I did modernize a bit and do a ratcheting binding. Since the mukluks are soft, the straps tend to dig in to the top of my foot and reduce circulation. My toes got cold quite quickly. I expected this anyway.


So much snow in less that one week. Love it!


Hard to wipe that grin off my face. My hair got streaked grey by my breath, giving me frosted tips to my hair. Oh how vanity can prevail in nature.


I definitely feel in my element in the snow and cold! I always tell people I need to take a week off every winter so I can frolic all day in the snow.


It was suggested to me by someone to fix the problem of flopping mukluks to use hockey tape to hold them up. What a great idea, except that I forgot to do it this time out. No big deal cause my snow pants have elastic cuffs that held the mukluks in place.


Snowshoeing downhill and bushwacking is tons of fun! I got a C+ for navigational skills! (It started as a C-).


Since mukluks are soft soled, it’s very neat walking in snowshoes with them. I can feel all the webbing under my feet. I can also feel the spring of the webbing as I walk, something that I never really noticed. Perhaps I was more aware of what to look for. Regardless, after some adjustments to the binding straps, my feet quickly warmed up and the mukluks kept me toasty. I was quite amazed at the warmth of the mukluks as I was only wearing a stretch polyester sock. No wool or anything.


We stopped a few km’s into the hike for some tea and goodies. When I pulled off the snowshoes and loosened them off, my feet instantly warmed up. The mukluks proved themselves extremely warm in cold, static conditions. Proof that circulation being cut off causes cold toesies! I tried running for a bit and found that they performed extremely well for that as well. Again, as close to barefoot as you are going to get in sub zero, snowy conditions (and on trails to boot!).


We eventually ran in to some cross country skiers. Actually, lots of them. Probably 30 or so. It looks like fun, but I am going to keep my focus on shoeing this year. Can’t afford skis (yet).  I used to XC ski all the time as a kid and I would love to get back in to it as we live in such a fantastic area for it.


If you’re ever in West Bragg and need someone to go snowshoeing with, look me up! I’ll be there, cold weather and all!

Manitobah Mukluks Hunters: Cold, Snowy and Snowshoeing

Pros: Extremely warm. Soft soles in snowshoes provides unique feel. Still stylish. Running stills feels barefoot-ish, as close to being barefoot in winter as possible. Very grippy on snow trails while running.

Cons: Soft mukluk not the best choice for snowshoe bindings. Perhaps a binding that covers the whole foot, rather than uses straps would do better. Mukluks still flop (but that was my fault due to no hockey tape). Once wet, the mukluks stay wet and aren’t waterproof.

Overall: With the right binding, these mukluks would provide the recreationalist with a very unique snowshoe experience. For the conditions listed (snowshoes, snow, –20), I would give the Hunter’s a 8.5/10. Very pleased.


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