Posted by: Sally Ingraham | December 8, 2007

Boreal Behavior

December Bubbles
Originally uploaded by tuulenhaiven

I am a little embarrassed that I have not been playing outside in the snow every single day since the big storm. I have a fairly good excuse, however. My first foray into the 16 inches of winter that presented themselves at the beginning of the week, nearly killed me.

My boyfriend and I each posses a piece of recreational equipment that is a cross between snow shoes and cross-country skis. Called Boreals, they do look like short, fat skis. Instead of tromping around as you would in snowshoes, you can kind of slide, but the lovely glide of real skis is unobtainable.

In a fit of enthusiasm, we packed these things into our car and drove over to the Jordan Pond area, eager to try them out on the carriage roads. After fifteen minutes of experimenting with how to strap them onto our boots, we shuffled off.

Shuffling is about the most pleasant motion we achieved that day. Cutting a trail through almost a foot and a half of snow is never particularly fun. The Boreals only made that truer.

My boyfriend and I consider ourselves to be fairly physically active. I myself am a believer in ‘sticking it out’ and not complaining. However, this day each sticky stride that took me further from the car only made me more aware of how far it was back. I tried to talk myself into enjoying the aching pain in parts of my legs that I hadn’t known were there. I told myself stories about how this mode of transportation was far superior to actually slogging through the snow in boots. I am good at fooling myself in such ways, but those Boreals almost broke me.

Uphill and down through the woods on the lovely carriage road above Jordan Pond. Perfect silence for miles and not another human being to be seen. Funny animal tracks in the drifts. Snow frosted evergreens, boulders, mountains. Peace and tranquility, and me, struggling along, sweating, chest heaving, legs like tree stumps sprouting painful new growths.

Once we admitted that we were being beaten, and turned round to head back, and finally made it down to the edge of Jordan Pond, then we felt a certain exhilaration. A sense of having striven against a mighty foe, and survived. Satisfaction that made us forget about the frustration.

We felt rather pleased with ourselves. The world looked pretty again, and the snow had lost it’s sticky-fingered malice. The Bubbles blinked at us from beneath their frosted eyelashes, and we winked back.

Later, stiff and sore and soaking in the hot tub, we were content to admit that we would take the next day off. No use rushing off again. The snow wasn’t going anywhere.

Three days later, feeling less like a very old woman and more like myself, I am almost ready to venture out again. There’s still no use rushing though. It looks like the snow is here to stay.

The Boreals are leaning against the wall by the door, taunting me gently.

“Come on – don’t you have the courage to try me again?”

I think I do. I also think tomorrow will be soon enough!


  1. Sounds too much like snowshoes to me. I decided after a few attempts with snowshoes that, as alternative to freezing to death in a remote cabin when the fire wood runs out, snowshoes are almost okay…but that’s about it. Anyone who thinks they are “fun” probably enjoys dentist visits too.

    Think of it this way: if the sweeds had invented snowshoes and the amerindians had invented skiis, it would have changed the whole history of the world!

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