First Tracks

Winter Sports
First Tracks

Virgin snow, untouched by humans. Many people strive for it. To be the first person on the snow, to be the one to make the first tracks. You hear skiers talking about it all of the time. There is just something beautiful  about an almost perfect scene in front of you. I have had first tracks while snowshoeing but Thanksgiving Day was different. I was jogging around Rhododendron State Park in Fitzwilliam, NH when I came across a sign for a trail to Little Monadnock. I can’t resist a good view and I had read that there is a view to Grand Monadnock. Change of plans. I started jogging toward the little summit.

As I started heading up jogging turned to walking and picture taking. More snow was starting to cover the trail. The trees were becoming white from snow and ice covering. The sun was coming out, causing the ice covered trees to gleam. I was soon surrounded by a winter wonderland. It was just me and Mother Nature. There were footprints at this point so I knew I might encounter others but for now I was on my own. There is a certain sense of peace in a snow covered wonderland. When I reached the view point Grand Monadnock was unfortunately in the clouds. Something was almost amiss though. There were no tracks following the Metacomet-Monadnock trail. I started jogging again toward the summit of Little Monadnock. I was ducking and weaving trying to avoid the trees bent across the trail with the weight of snow and ice. Soon a burst out onto the summit. The winter like scene was spectacular. All of those people that turned around at the view point missed something special.

Instead of turning around and going back the way I came I decided to take the path not traveled this Thanksgiving Day. A smile was spreading across my face as the snow crunched under foot. This was something new for me. First tracks, in the snow, while running. It felt great running along and seeing deer tracks. I felt light as air. If it weren’t for the crunchy snow I might have thought I was floating just off the trail. Suddenly, my attention was snapped to the trail ahead. Up ahead was a group of wild turkeys. My crunching spooked them and they were taking off to get away. I stopped and stood there silently watching the turkeys. I laughed to myself, what’s the chance I would come across a flock of turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. Once they had disappeared I continued on my run. Within 5 minutes of seeing the turkeys my attention was taken away from my run again, this time by the piercing sound of gun shots. I thought of the turkeys and then also of myself running around in the woods alone. I was dressed in bright colors but decided that it was time to head back to the family. My run had come to an end but there will be more.

Amy Parulis


A former Strength and Conditioning Specialist and captain of the University of North Carolina track team, Amy now looks for her next mountain to climb or mud run to take part in to keep in shape. Her favorite hike was to the crater rim of Mt. St. Helens where she witnessed a steaming lava dome and she some day hopes to summit Mt. Rainier. In the meantime she can be found helping customers at the Waterford EMS. You can follow her adventures on Twitter @amyparulis

1 Comment

  1. Ben White
    November 28, 2011, 11:45 am

    The first crunching of snow beneath your feet is amazing! Orion is in the sky, snow is on the ground, winter has begun!

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