The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Peace on Earth… and Trail Etiquette

Posted by | December 25, 2017 | Filed under: Culture

“Mom! Are you okay?”

Yes, I’m okay. Just feeling a little silly for stumbling off the boardwalk and landing in the barberry. My snowshoes are submerged. Teensy thorns snag my hat. An ample December snow blankets the trails, making it difficult to tell where the boardwalk ends and the marsh begins, so I have pitched off the edge in an attempt to keep off the ski track.

I grew up on cross-country skis, so the twin troughs of ski trail stretching far off into the forest are a happy sight, a message of graceful movement written on the snow. There is nothing more maddening, I am sure, than gliding along in a well-set track, only to have it later flattened by the messy geometry of snowshoes!

But snowshoes work for my family right now. They get us out on the trail. Snow boots worn while shoveling are quickly strapped into bindings and within minutes we are traipsing down the slender, tree-lined entry to the Muskie Trail.

My daughter, Grace, and I are the first ones out after a new snow, and the ski track, plump with the fluffy inches that have newly fallen, is waiting for those first lucky skiers. Will they pass us by, regarding our wide aluminum frames with a wary eye? We stay to the right.

Considerate snowshoes on the Laird-Norton boardwalk. Photo by Lynne Benoit Vachon

The boardwalk is a challenge to the considerate snowshoer. Three seasons out of the year, we pass easily by. In winter, the boardwalk narrows because we take up more of it. Insulated and layered, gloved and booted, with equipment strapped to hands and feet, we reduce the boardwalk to a single shared lane. An orderly pair of ski tracks is as fleeting as the powdery conditions we enjoy on this quiet winter morning.

We tramp the boardwalk with a sharing spirit, staying to the side, occasionally finding the edge. Dear skier, we are doing our best. But if you see flecks and divots peppering your pristine double-track, please know that although we attempt to control our own movements, there’s not much we can do about the animals!

Visitors to the Reserve share the trails with those who live here! Photo by Lynne Benoit Vachon

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