While in principle, snowshoeing is merely walking with wide and awkward aluminum or wood platforms attached to your feet, it completely changes the way you travel through an outdoor space.
When the world is covered in deep drifts of snow, the potential paths are unlimited. A snowshoe-er does not have to stick to a pre-existing path, or follow a logical route, but rather can forge on in any direction, through drifts of any size. Want to tackle that giant overblown drifted hill? Go ahead! Want to mogul through the bush, around trees and over small shrubs? There's nothing stopping you except the width of your snowshoes getting stuck between tree-trunks.
I've commented many times on how much I love Nose Hill Park for the sense of natural peace it brings. When, over Christmas, B and I had the time and energy to head out there, to our delight, there was several feet thick of snow lying on the ground--and uncommon event for Calgary. So in the afternoon sunshine we headed out, up over the hills and across the sections of open plain. Through the deciduous forests and the sections of deep brush.
We encountered coyote, porcupine, mice and deer, all thriving in this wilderness park in the middle of the city. The only animal that seemed concerned about our presence was the mouse--probably because we could have stepped on him without noticing. The others seemed not to care that we were sharing their habitat. Who are these crazy galumphing beings who make their own trails? Why are they taking the path of MOST resistance?
I can't say that snowshoeing is a quiet venture, wherein one can spend time philosophizing on the greater ideals of the world. It's hard work, and the heart pumps and blood rushes and breathing is heavy. But when you stop (to catch your breath) and survey the world from your solitary vantage point, with the late afternoon sun shining and very few other individuals braving the elements to join you, the world is truly beautiful.