[Marxism] Winter exercise? Thanks to Native Americans.

lshan at bcn.net lshan at bcn.net
Sun Feb 8 19:11:45 MST 2004


The modern snowshoe saw its greatest innovations, up until the
aluminum-frame models used today, among the native tribes of what is now
Canada. Some of the best documentation for Indian use of snowshoes, how they
were worn while hunting or in battle, for example, is in the 19th-century
paintings of George Catlin. . . .

Many animals ‹ snowshoe hares, foxes, lynxes and wolves ‹ are equipped by
evolution for traveling over deep snow. Cross-country skis work on the same
principle, but for deep snow and rough terrain, with fallen trees and
boulders, or on steeper inclines, there is no better snow-travel tool than
the snowshoe. In any case, snowshoeing is generally easier than
cross-country skiing, especially for winter-sport beginners. [And XC skiing
today requires groomed trails, and you had better be a good downhill skier
before you try steep downhills on the skinny skis.]

Snowshoeing can be a transcendent experience, as I found on a trip to the
White Mountains of New Hampshire. . . . It was still enough to hear the
occasional clump of snow tumble off an overstrained evergreen bough and
"ploof" onto the ground. Then, all of a sudden, in a nearby stand of spruce
we heard a cacophony of gobbles. A flock of wild turkeys had been stalked
and ambushed by coyotes. As we approached we saw tracks from the coyotes and
turkeys along with the imprint of wings that had been made as the birds flew
away, leaving perfect snow angels behind. . . .

The modern snowshoe saw its greatest innovations, up until the
aluminum-frame models used today, among the native tribes of what is now
Canada. Some of the best documentation for Indian use of snowshoes, how they
were worn while hunting or in battle, for example, is in the 19th-century
paintings of George Catlin. . . .

French trappers were probably the first Europeans to learn the use of
snowshoes from American Indians, most likely in the 17th century. According
to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first English-language use of the word
snowshoe was in John Josselyn's "Two Voyages" of 1674, in a passage that
described "a crust upon the snow sufficient to bear a man walking with
snow-shoos upon it.". . . .

For all the assets of modern materials, the original snowshoe design still
works, and there are benefits to traditional models, like the Ojibwa made by
Wilcox & Williams. With ash frames and nylon polyurethane-treated lacing,
they are good for deep snow and off-trail snowshoeing because of their
generous surface area. . . .

[Near Boulder, Colorado] I stopped to talk to one of the snowshoers who was
on his way back home after a three-mile hike to Brainard Lake. The storm was
passing and in its wake was a cold wind whipping through mountain. . . .

"This is just what the doctor ordered," he said. "I was just waiting for
this side of the mountain to get some snow on it. Now I can go home and
watch football and have a beer and feel like I deserve it."
_________

Now why hadn't those advanced Europeans invaders invented snowshoes for
their winter travel in in middle Europe? They did invent the wheel, or at
least it was invented by their middle eastern progenitors. Lacking large
"draft" animals, the natives of Mexico invented the wheel only as a toy.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/06/travel/escapes/06SNOW.html

from Brian Shannon







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