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I’m not even one of those dried out hard marshmallows, which have a modicum of strength. I’m a fresh marshmallow that’s easily squished. I learned this from snowshoeing.

Young Son asked us last week to take him to an area state park for a walk, so we planned the excursion for yesterday afternoon. Hubby figured we could get some use out of our snowshoes as long as we were at it. Eldest Son is home from college for the weekend, so our merry family band was all together, and the weather was gorgeous – sunny and about 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

It took us a bit of time to get on our snowshoes because we haven’t used them in a while and the kids’ feet have grown bigger. (I strapped on Eldest Son’s snowshoes, which are smaller than mine, and he put on mine because he’s now bigger than I am.) After this little production, which in hindsight was unnecessary for some of us, we took off along the state park’s groomed trails. Snowshoers are allowed to use the trail alongside the cross-country ski trails.

The Warner family retrieving the snowshoes from the car, February 13, 2010, central Minnesota.

The Warner family retrieving the snowshoes from the car, February 13, 2010, central Minnesota.

We set off on our snowshoeing adventure, February 13, 2010, central MN.

We set off on our snowshoeing adventure, February 13, 2010, central MN. In back is Eldest Son, then Young Son, then Hubby, then Daughter. I'm behind with the camera.

As we walked, Daughter and Hubby kept up a good pace at the front. Eldest Son and I lagged behind and Young Son went between both groups. Early on, one of his snowshoes fell off, so he took the other one off and just walked. Not too long after this, my right ankle and foot began to hurt from the snowshoe, so I took my pair off. Eldest Son, who was carrying a backpack with water bottles, felt bogged down with my heavier wooden snowshoes and decided to take them off. Daughter, who was wearing a lighter-weight aluminum pair, traded with him. Once she got the heavier pair on, she was gang-busters to get going again and she and Hubby trotted off, followed by Young Son. Eldest Son and I lagged in the rear, trading the camera back and forth.

Proof that I was on the snowshoeing expedition. Note the snowshoes in my hand and the Peruvian flute band hat on my head. February 13, 2010, central MN.

Proof that I was on the snowshoeing expedition. Note the snowshoes in my hand and the Peruvian flute band hat on my head. February 13, 2010, central MN. Photo by Eldest Son.

Truth to tell, Eldest Son and I were having fun being poky. He took out his sling psychrometer and was swinging it around to measure the air temperature and the wet bulb temp. Using the difference between those measurements, he could figure out relative humidity and dew point. Can you tell he has a meteorology class this semester?

At a certain point, we all decided it was time to head back to the car. Hubby was going to make pizza for supper and he needed to start the dough. Rather than follow the groomed trails back, we made our way to an ungroomed path at a site adjacent to the park. Big mistake, at least for me. This is a path I enjoy taking when there is no snow on the ground, but it was sheer torture yesterday. Because it wasn’t groomed, it wasn’t hard-packed, so my steps were uneven. Why I didn’t think to put the snowshoes back on, I don’t know. Wait. I do know. Fiddling with the straps would have taken too long and I was tired.

Everyone else marched steadily ahead, even Eldest Son, who was operating on four hours of sleep and was exhausted from the first leg of our snowshoeing adventure. Before we started this portion of the tour, he had wanted to walk back along the road to retrieve the car and pick us all up – a good idea we should have listened to.

A path that normally takes me about ten minutes to walk with ease turned into probably twenty minutes of incredibly strenuous work. I was breathing hard through my mouth and needed to stop every few minutes to rest. My legs were burning from exertion. I fell farther and farther behind and at times wanted to lay down in the snow. I resisted the urge because I didn’t know how long it would take for my family to realize I wasn’t there and because I didn’t want them to have to carry me back.

My lack of stamina and strength made me realize that I am a marshmallow. I never used to be so soft, but my sedentary lifestyle has made me what I am today. Of course, more exercise would bring me out of my marshmallow state, but it’s just too damn much work.

As long as I’m a marshmallow, I’d like to be one of the colored ones because I find them prettier and more flavorful. If I can’t have strength and stamina, can I at least have that?

[Eldest Son told me he is a marshmallow too.]

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