We have had a lot of snow here in the Northeast. There are 16 inches in my backyard. I woke up on Saturday 1-29-2011 with a mission: to take a photographic expedition on snowshoes. With the exterme depth of snow lately, I have been taking advantage of this form of exercise more and more. It is literally too deep for cross country skiing, and cycling has been impossible. I decided to give my circa 1960 gray bodied and red bellowsed Century Graphic a workout. It has an excellent 101mm F: 4.5 Optar lens made by Wollensack, in Rochester, New York. As a matter of fact, the camera, lens, and rollfilm back were all made in Rochester, New York. Hats off to Rochester! think of that...an American Camera.
It turned out that cross country skiers had made some pretty good tracks over the past few days, and the trails were unsullied by horses or walkers. Both cross country skiing and snowshoeing were a delight in this deep and relatively heavy snow. The landscape was exquisite, and the woods were silent. I worked up quite a sweat on my Tubbs snowshoes, and took a few good shots with the Century Graphic
Those of you who know will notice that the XC tracks and the snowshoe path seem to respect each other. This is due to the extreme trail courtesy that each of these forms of snow travel have for each other in Caumsett Park. Its 1800 acres and 25 miles of trails are very varied, and are well shared by all,
I had a great time in the woods that day. Exercise, Nature, Photography, what a way to spend a day off. Nobody was around, so I took a picture of myself, and here it is. During the coming months I will plot the course of my Spring and Summer riding schedule, both social and athletic. I have already arranged with some friends to do the 5 Boro Bike Tour on May 1, 2011. Also, I'm 60 in June, and would like to plan some special riding event or accomplishment to celebrate. We will see what develops.
On January 11-12 2011, the East Coast got quite a large snowstorm. My front yard got 10 inches, and the North Shore of Long Island got about 12-14 inches of excellent powdery snow. Obviously, cycling on the road was out, and indoor training is always something that I avoid if possible. Both Helen and I were available for our first snowshoeing expedition of the season. Our first choice would have been cross country skiing, but after a trial over open fields with my back country skis, I figured that the day would be ideal for some snowshoeing. We went to Caumsett park on Lloyd Harbor, and had 25 miles of empty trails, and numerous open fields to explore. Snowshoeing is an excellent form of winter exercise. Equipment is inexpensive, anybody who can walk can do it, and the learning curve to at least some proficiency is quick. Women, who have a wider pelvis, seem to pick it up easier than the men, in my experience.
As we were the first ones on most of the trails, we did a lot of trailblazing, as you can see Helen doing in photo #3. The temperature hovered in the high 20s, so the cold was not a big factor. With the amount of energy burned, we were quite toasty most of the day, and did not need heavy clothing.
Although in the past we had used winter hiking boots for the snowshoes, our cross country boots worked well for this purpose. After a wonderful day breaking trails and enjoying the relaxing pace of snowshoeing, we were glad to get home and have a home cooked dinner by the roaring fire of our country kitchen fireplace. No matter what the season or weather conditions, I believe that outdoor exercise has undefinable benefits that indoor exercise cannot ever match.
The snow keeps coming in early January on Long Island. I have long envied those who live in areas of the country and the world who have a 12 month cycling season. When the weather doesn't cooperate, we seek other forms of exercise. In my case, my medical school freshman housemate turned me on to cross country skiing. Over the years, Helen and I have cross country skiied many of the areas of the East Coast, and some in the West Coast on our trip to California in February, 2010. Cross country skiing has it all for the lover of the outdoors and full body exercise. You don't have to travel many hours to do it, because any park or golf course will suffice. It's a great change of pace from cycling, and uses somewhat different muscle structures. It can be gentle or vigirous, and is easily adaptable to any exercise and outdoor regimens. Suffice it to say, that I greatly enjoy it when I can get it. My skies are Rossignol back country skis with full metal edges, which are adaptable for the ungroomed local trails, and can fit into groomed tracks on vacation.
I'm just a guy who likes to ride. Not the fastest. Not the slowest. I am always seeking new riding challenges. This blog records my experiences in the saddle, as they relate to the rest of my life. Hopefully, those who read it will be able to share with and learn from me.