|Shutting out everything but the trail|
I truly enjoy trail running, but in a different way from snowshoeing. When I am cruising along a dirt trail I find satisfaction in the agility it takes to move quickly over rocky terrain and I love how quickly I can move from meadow to forest to tundra. That sense is not there snowshoeing. I can still get up to a beautiful ridgeline, but it will take me two hours longer than in the summer. There is nothing fast or agile about that.
Snowshoeing is different. I still get the mythical runners high, or whatever it actually is, when running on snowshoes and during races I still enjoy the thrill of competition. But while snowshoeing I also experience a deep sense of quiet calmness. The snow dampens all noises in the forest. There are few birds chirping and no rocky footsteps to be heard. Even though I am out in the cold working just hard enough to stay warm, I feel like I am in a warm blanket of solitude where nothing else matters. There are no distractions and I become part of the landscape.
|Christmas Tree worms that I had to drift up to before they hid|
The only other time I have consciously noticed this phenomenon is while diving. While diving the water shuts out ambient noises and dulls other sensations. My breathing is shallow and every move is calculated to save oxygen. I try to drift with the current along a reef looking for sponges, worms, and shrimp, rather than swim against the motion. It is a very calming experience for me.
|Calm, but ready to jet away, like a squid|