Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Snow Shoes

Olaus Magnus describing his journeys to Norway and other 'Northern Lands' as early as 1510;

"On the frontier of Sweden and Norway there are lofty mountains called Dovre-fjell and others like them, which in wintertime are covered in such dense, deep snow that it is quite impossible for travellers to find a firm route over them in the usual way. Yet, to overcome a difficulty of this sort (by their ingenuity) and skilfully lighten their loads, the traders of those parts fasten to their own and their horses' feet wickerwork shoes, or light, broad half-circles of cork or lime bark and, even though they are weighed down with a heavy burden, tread the ridges of snow without fear of sinking...at night, when the moon gives a brilliant light...by the reflection of the white surface, the shimmering brightness illuminates the elevated and sloping snowfields, so that they may pick out from far off the mountain precipices and harmful beasts that have to be avoided...A still greater danger overhangs travelers among mountains that are full of caves, for through the concentration of tiny snowflakes there one can observe the blasts and gusts of wind roused to such violence in those places that, unless they bring along shovels or ice picks with which to clear the way, they have hardly any hope of emerging from mountains so high and valleys so deep."

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