Courtney Little’s goal was to learn how to snowshoe this winter. The Alabama native moved to New York State in August and is currently experiencing her first “actual” winter. She was interested in finding an outdoor activity to enjoy during the colder months. Courtney and David Sampson, who also moved from Alabama, saw road signs for the Arboretum and decided to visit during the Second Sunday Snowshoe on February 13.
Landis volunteer Susan Strangia led the event — which had a dozen participants. She has been interested in the outdoors since youth and began volunteering at the Arboretum in May 2021. This was following her retirement from the New York State Office of Mental Health. She began snowshoeing about 15 years ago.
“Snowshoeing is so much like hiking, but allows access to trails with deep snow,” Susan said. “Snowshoeing preserves trails for cross-country skiers as well, since winter hiking in boots can result in holes where you sink in.”
Landis’ volunteer coordinator Anne Donnelly, who has guided the Second Sunday Snowshoe previously, also attended. She was available to answer questions while preparing for the walk and throughout the event. Anne smiled while holding up a pair of old wooden framed snowshoes with rawhide (babiche) webbing. She wanted to show the group an example of what snowshoes used to look like compared to the aluminum ones typically used today.
“I’m from the North Country and hunting on snowshoes was part of my childhood,” she said.
Susan helped outfit the attendees with snowshoes near the red barn. She provided a brief history of the winter sport, as well as some safety tips prior to guiding the trek through the glistening snow.
A majority of the group had tried out the winter activity at least once previously. However, Susan said Landis is a great place to try out snowshoeing because there are a variety of trails for different interests, skill levels and terrain.
Following the event, Susan said, “I hope folks will have a basic understanding of how snowshoes work, how to put them on and take them off, walk comfortably as well as how to ascend and descend,” she said.
While on the Fred Lape Trail, Anne pointed to the Crab Apple and Lilac collections, enticing the participants to visit during the spring months while the trees are in bloom.
Jenny Harris, from Voorheesville, had never visited the Arboretum. “I really enjoyed the hike and the views,” she said. “I’m definitely going to visit during each season to experience it in different ways,” she continued. “I never realized how much history the Arboretum holds and how active they are globally.”
Not only did Courtney and David enjoy their first visit, Courtney was confident she would accomplish her goal of learning to snowshoe by winter’s end.