Urban Snowshoeing

Posted January 9, 2011 | 1:12 pm, by nadine

Who says you need to live in the back country to snowshoe? Yesterday Toronto got its first major dump of the white stuff, and it was lovely. Since we were handed with a mild sunny afternoon and fresh show, my friend Victor and I decided to go hoof it through Tommy Thompson Park.

For the record I don’t have modern winter gear of really any kind. But I figured, if the pioneering french fur trappers could do it without jackets from MEC, then so could I. So armed with my grey wool jacket, some layered items, and a very old pair of wooden snow shoes, we ventured out.


Parks, and woods in winter are special things for me. They offer me a form of insulated silence and reflection I don’t generally get in an urban environment. Its also a chance to stop and notice textures that sometimes get lost in other season’s foliage. The spit has a nice contrast between patches of deciduous woods covered in horse tails and deep red dogwood, and long open roads. It sometimes looks apocalyptic. Specifcially when, like me, you forget your camera and end up using an iPhone.

Horse Tail up close. The tops look like little acorns. They are apparently pretty prehistoric, and use spores to reproduce. Anything with spores oddly makes me think of science fiction for some reason.

And hey, we even got to see a tiny Saw-whet Owl, which was a nice bonus. I was really surprised at how small it was. Its like a pocket owl. This guy seemed pretty undisturbed by people, and kind of sleepy but they have these huge eyes which look even larger due to their small size.

I would definitely like to go snowshoeing a few more times this season. I’m not big on most winter sports, I find them too expensive and un-spontatious. But I like the fact that with snowshoeing you can just walk to the edge of the road, strap them on and go exploring somewhere. Though next time I should bring some apples and a flask. Hey, it worked for the french fur trappers.

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