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Snowshoeing and splendor



Sitting inside the house on one melty Sunday morning, I had been studying for an exam for two days straight and was itching to get outside. I was housebound by choice and ready to break my rules.

Thirty minutes later, I found myself in the splendor of the Sucker River off Highway 61.

After clipping in my new Atlas Elektra snowshoes, my partner and I left the salty road and the pickup behind as we padded to the trail.

I have always found a simple but calming connection with nature. Some sort of Zen surfaces through the chaos of my life when I am breathing with the trees. However, it wasn’t until recently that I considered the options of winter activities. In fact, I would have been perfectly content to discover another stout or two.

But, by the encouragement of my partner, I gave snowshoeing a try. After all, it was only glorified walking with big, expensive shoes. And as it turns out, I loved it.

The shoes, as I soon learned, were not like the traditional wooden webs I had imagined. Instead, my hardwood frames and latticework rawhide lacings were replaced with aluminum tubing and metal cleats.


Hiking along, I was that savvy outdoors woman on the magazine cover. Cotton candy skies and a tangle of trees was my backdrop. Here, nature was my only companion teaching me about water under ice, what birds really do on a Saturday afternoon and air so clean you can’t suck it in quick enough.

I decided that if I could feel such a connection to nature, there must be others too.

Mitch Scudamore, a resident of Duluth, shared with me his experience about kayaking.

“When a wave comes you go up and when a wave leaves you go down. You’re right on the water’s edge and you are one with the water,? he said.

Like Scudamore, UMD sophomore Christy Bangasser also sensed that connection with kayaking.

“It’s great exercise and you’re with nature. Those are the two most relaxing things for me,? she said.

UMD junior Bill Rusk felt traveled to Joshua Tree National Park for a rock-climbing trip and described what he saw.

“It was a surreal landscape with miles and miles of Joshua trees that stretched on… golden globes of granite that looked like they had been plopped down on the land but it had just eroded away,? said Rusk.

“It’s this existential sense… I see it as something to achieve. I think, ‘Yeah, I can do this’,? he said.

After talking to these people, I was filled with the urge to go out and tackle every adventure I ever dreamt about. Their adventures were different than mine but I got the distinct feeling that nature could give off this universal feel-good vibe to its visitors.

At any rate, whether folks are hitting the trails or paddling the waves, maybe the feeling of calm through the chaos can find them too.

Dayna D. Landgrebe is at land0357@d.umn.edu