About Jim Joque

Jim Joque is a Midwest writer on snowshoeing, backpacking and canoeing. He retired from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as director of disability services and adjunct adventure education instructor, having taught snowshoeing, camping, backpacking, adventure leadership and Leave No Trace.


Snowshoeing High In The Midwest: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan

Timms Hill Tower- north central Wisconsin, snowshoeing in Midwest

I like looking down from high places. To do so is exhilarating, provides lovely views, and makes me feel like I am on top of the world….as long as it’s not too high. But no worries about snowshoeing too high … Continue reading

Snowshoeing For Seniors: Into Your 70’s and Beyond

senior snowshoeing

Hulda Crooks put on her 25-pound backpack and headed out in the early morning to climb Mt. Whitney, a mountain reaching 14,505 feet (4421 m). She had climbed it 23 times before. According to reports, Hulda also claimed many other … Continue reading

Play Ball! On Snowshoes

Bases were loaded. One more kick into the outfield and their team could gain some home runs. Excitement mounted as a young woman slammed a large beach-ball with her snowshoe, landing it beyond 2nd base and into centerfield. Two players … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Through 25 Years

Putting on my snowshoes for the first time each winter is like a rebirth. Having done so before many times, the experience still seems new and fresh. I had that feeling again today as I headed out on my Continue reading

Old Guys Surprise – Shoein’ in the Porkies

While sitting on chairs around an old wooden table, a warm wood fire slowly burned in a stove, and a gas lantern lit up the small cabin room as two friends and I discussed our snowshoe hiking plans for the … Continue reading

Snowshoeing 101: Techniques for the Beginner

“Okay, everyone line up,” I began by saying to the class. “We are going to play follow the leader with a twist. The first one in line chooses an animal. You are then to walk like that animal.” Fifteen grade … Continue reading

Snowshoeing along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail

What was the northernmost part of our country a million plus years ago during the Ice Age? Well, mega ice sheets covered the landscape and a third of earth’s land was impacted. But, let’s look at Wisconsin specifically (obviously … Continue reading

Snowshoeing on a Wisconsin Mountain! Wisconsin has a Mountain?

On a moonlit evening with 14 college students, I parked the university van at a trailhead where we put on our snowshoes and began our somewhat challenging hike up Rib Mountain toward the summit. This was just one of several … Continue reading

What’s a Yooper? And what’s a Yooper doing on snowshoes?

What’s a Yooper? From The Associated Press caption, dated May 19, 2014, reads, “Da ‘Yoopers’ added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary celebrating residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.” Yes, in April that year, Merriam-Webster added: “Yooper noun: a native or resident of … Continue reading

Snowshoeing, Snow camping and Snowstorms

Eighteen college students and I were scheduled to take our winter snowshoeing and snow camping fieldtrip in northern Wisconsin on an early December weekday. It was over an hour drive to our destination.

I carefully watched the weather report several … Continue reading

Wisconsin Makes Cheese and Snowshoes

In 2013, Wisconsin’s 134 cheese plants produced 2,842,456,000 pounds of cheese, accounting for 25.5 percent of the total U.S. cheese production (according to a 2014 Dairy Data report, Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Service and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture). This must be … Continue reading

Snowshoeing and the Devil (or Rather Devil’s Lake)

Devil’s Lake lies in one of Wisconsin’s most scenic and treasured state parks. Its trails take hikers and snowshoers up on quartzite rock bluffs 500 feet above a scenic 360-acre spring fed glacial lake, and through the forested Baraboo Hills.… Continue reading

The Snowshoe and Tent Experience

For several years, I led college students on a weekend winter camping adventure annually as part of a backpacking and camping course that I taught at a Wisconsin university. On one such occasion, we hiked to our campsite on bare … Continue reading

Covering the Extremities: Prepare for the Snowshoeing Season

A magic hat is what turned Frosty into a real walking and talking snowman.  As written by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, the lyrics go like this:

“There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found. … Continue reading

The Snowshoe and Rustic Cabin Experience

Our plastic sleds and backpacks were loaded for what seemed to be a three-week trip rather than the actual three-day trip we had planned. Bungee cords held duffle bags and coolers in place as six friends and I prepared for … Continue reading

The Snowshoe and Quinzhee Experience

It was a cold and snowy January in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the eve of my 13th birthday back in the 1960s. Five of us Boy Scouts experienced winter camping for the very first time. We packed in … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Close to Home: On a Wisconsin Flowage and Wildlife Area

A far away snowshoeing adventure is always exciting. It also takes planning, time and money when a trip involves distance and an overnight stay. But if you live where there is snow, finding a snowshoeing location close to home can … Continue reading

Snowshoeing for Someone on the Go

At 6 a.m. my alarm goes off. I hit the snooze control for just five more minutes of rest. The darn thing goes off again. I’m up, my eyes are half-open and my body moves at a slow pace….picking up … Continue reading

The Homemade Snowshoe Repair Kit

Kids, teens, young adults, and parents all seem to enjoy the “what’s in my pack” game. I relay a fictitious story and ask the audience what should be in my pack. Then, I slowly pull out the essential accessories. … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 306: Why Do We Snowshoe? A Psycho-social Analysis or Just Because

Have you ever wondered why we snowshoe? While in psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud may have said something to the snowshoe enthusiast like, “Due to a possible repression of your early fixation manifestations, you resolved your subconscious conflicts by simply taking up … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 305: Are Two Poles Better than One?

Moses stretched out his hand and the Red Sea parted. I assume he held his wooden staff in the other hand. Note, that he did not have dual hiking poles…just a single staff.

When I snowshoe, I do not part … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 304: Shoeing in the Midwest (a Little Different than East or West)

Over many years of snowshoeing, I humbly learned lots of lessons through experience. A few years ago while on a short adventure out west, I learned that snow and snowshoeing is different there than in the Great Lakes region of … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 303: All I Want for Christmas Are My Two Front Feet (Decked with Boughs of Accessories)

“When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.  Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 302 – Snowshoeing: Past, Present and Future

Knowing the past and living in the present always leaves us wondering about the future. Knowing about the history of snowshoeing, and being actively involved in the sport today, activates the imagination to wonder what snowshoeing would be like in … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 301: Up for the Season?

Gearing up for the season by a downhill skier implies that they not only have to get out their skis, poles, boots, goggles, special clothing and ski rack for their car, but they also have to purchase their season ski … Continue reading

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall…Sylvania Offers it All

It was dawn, about 6 AM when I awoke to the bellowing call of a loon. I am used to waking up at that time automatically with or without an alarm clock… since it has been the time I wake … Continue reading

High Adventure for a Cause

I do not do high adventure. I am more of a low adventure kind of guy doing snowshoeing, hiking, backpacking, quiet-water canoeing and camping whereby my feet are close to the ground or I’m gliding on gentle waters.

I see … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 212: What to do Once the Snow is Gone

In my outdoor journal for March 14, 2012, I wrote, “The thermometer read 77 degrees on our way home from work. This is highly unusual weather.” I continued, “The snow is gone. The weather report said we are 12.3 inches … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 211: Crossing Paths on My Ojibwa Snowshoes

My great, great grandmother on my father’s side of the family was Angelique Beaudoin (pronounced bo-d’uah). She was referred to as a “metis”, meaning that her parents were of mixed races. Her father was French Canadian and her mother was … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 210: Moonlight Snowshoeing

Clement C. Moore expressed it poetically in The Night before Christmas when he wrote, “The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below.”  I think of this passage just about every time … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 209: Northern Michigan and Wisconsin Snowshoeing Treasures

I have lived in Wisconsin for nearly 30 years. But Escanaba, located in Northern Michigan is my home town. I grew up there and left the state at age 22 to attend graduate school. Northern Michigan sits above the Mackinac … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 208: The Pack and Snowshoe Experience

Snowshoeing participation increased by 11.4 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to Outdoor Foundation’s “Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report 2011.” Backpacking participation also had an increase of 9.2 percent. Both categories showed significant increases compared to several other outdoor recreation … Continue reading

Snowshoe Education 207: Sex and Snowshoeing Revisited

I discovered an interesting book published in 2007 on sex and camping by Michelle Waitzman titled “Sex in a Tent: a Wild Couple’s Guide to Getting Naughty in Nature.”  The book informs couples how to plan backcountry trips, as well … Continue reading

Snowshoeing Education 206: Hanging it up for the Season

Little to no snow in April is indeed an April fool's joke to me since there is no more snowshoeing. In Wisconsin, we do get the occasional end of season snow storm. But it melts in a couple days as warm fronts move in, and there is never enough snow to warrant putting on my snowshoes.

Snowshoeing Education 205: Snowshoeing is a Community Affair

During the holiday season a large numbers of Americans annually watch Frank Capra's “It's A Wonderful Life.”  In this classic movie, George Bailey, played by James Stewart is shown by his guardian angel all the lives he touched and his contributions to the Bedford Falls community. George's community also came together in the end to help save him and his family's building-and-loan company. A sense of community was the theme throughout the film.

Snowshoeing Education 204: Clarifying Snowshoeing Values

Why do people snowshoe?  What values do they hold dear to them when it comes to snowshoeing?  Why should we be concerned with values of snowshoers?  In response…there are a myriad of reasons why people snowshoe. They all hold differing values when it comes to winter recreation. And it is of concern, because it tells the snowshoeing industry something about the people who participate in the sport.

Snowshoeing Education 203: Snowshoeing is a Family Affair

The “family that plays together stays together” is a good adage for why snowshoeing as a family can be an enriching activity to foster healthy values and enrich relationships.  

Snowshoeing Education 202: Skills for the Hills

Although I am a flatlander from Wisconsin, I now and then have to attack hills on snowshoes.  Perhaps they are small hills, but none the less...hills. 

Snowshoeing 201: Snowshoeing Pedagogy

I chuckle when I receive an e-mail from a student that addresses me as “Professor Joque.” I have to admit, I never heard of a professor of snowshoeing before. But since I teach occasional snowshoeing courses as an adjunct adventure educator at a university, I do appreciate the respect my students give me as an instructor of the very popular and healthy sport of snowshoeing.

Snowshoeing Education 112: Safety First

Last year during spring break, my wife Liz and I flew from Wisconsin to Colorado to visit relatives. On a beautiful March morning we drove to Bear Lake. At 9,475 feet above sea level, this scenic haven is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park several miles out of Estes Park. I was chomping at the bit to experience some mountain snowshoeing for the first time, considering I only snowshoe in the Midwest. After a short trek around the lake, Liz decided to go back to the car to take a nap while I ventured off solo on a beautiful winter wonderland trail heading away from the heavily visited area.

Snowshoeing Education 111: The Snowshoe Shuffle, an Indoor Game

"What kind of traditional snowshoes are slightly oval, offering good maneuverability around objects but lacking good tracking ability? A) Alaskan B) Ojibwa, C) Michigan, D) Bearpaw." As kids huddle to discuss the question, they finally deliver the answer with confidence and vigor. "It's D, Bearpaw!" I respond, "Correct; move ahead to your next color." Obviously, these children are playing a snowshoeing game.

What To Bring When Snowshoeing: Top Accessories For the Day Hiker

A claim to fame for snowshoeing is that it is considered one of the least expensive outdoor sports, given that all you need are snowshoes. And true, for about $150 you are off and running, or hiking. But like any other recreation, there are always those little extra things you can buy and use that fall under the classification of "accessories." As I prepare to head out for a day of snowshoeing on a backcountry trail, there are accessories that I take with me. Some of those accessories are for convenience and some are essential to safety.

Snowshoeing Education 109: Leave No Trace When Snowshoeing

Over the past half century, there has been a significant increase of visitors to our wilderness areas and public lands. According to the National Park Service, area visitors increased from 33 million in 1950 to over 287 million in 2000. Likewise, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service showed a substantial increase in the number of people using designated wilderness areas over nearly four decades; with roughly 4 million in 1964, 7 million in 1974, 15 million in 1984, 21 million in 1994, and nearly 30 million in 2000.

Snowshoeing Education 108: Compass & Map Reading 101

compass and map
I was snowshoeing alone one evening in the Big Eau Pleine Park near Wausau, Wisconsin. This scenic 1,450 acre county park is located on a peninsula that jets out into the Big Eau Pleine Flowage. I began at the trailhead and hiked along the edge of the ski trail. It was in the late afternoon. At a point on the trail, I referenced my compass and decided to go off-trail and head west, since there was not much daylight remaining to finish hiking the entire circle.

Snowshoeing Education 107: I Wish Every Day Was a Saturday

As a kid, I remember we played in the sandbox during warm weather on Saturday afternoons. And during winter, we played in the snow. We would make a snow fort and have snowball fights. To end the day, we made a magnificent snowman wearing a scarf and hat, carrot for a nose, and coal for its eyes and mouth. How I loved those Saturdays.

Snowshoeing Education 106: Snowshoe Journaling

"This was real adventure, snowshoeing into deep winter. And I was relieved that I was getting along so well on my snowshoes. I had read of agonizing cramps from them. But Bill said that was from walking too tensely. So when I grew tired I walked with an extreme loppiness, and that rested me."

Snowshoeing Education 105: Let the Games Begin

Basketball, volleyball, football or kickball, you name it and it can be played in the snow on snowshoes. All you need is a little creativity and modification to the rules. The bases were loaded and a large orange beach ball was being rolled on a beaten-down path of snow toward the player. It was kicked high in the air. The outfielder tried to catch the fly-ball but fumbled, and in came most of the runners for a streak of homeruns for the team.

Snowshoeing Education 104: Just What Am I to Wear?

As a young child in the 50s, I remember my mother putting me into a snowsuit that had pants, coat, and hood all in one piece. It was made of a stiff cotton fabric that froze like a Popsicle on a wet winter day. My arms stuck out straight making me resemble a very short scarecrow.

Snowshoeing Education 103: Using Activities to Perfect Techniques

"Alright you guys, I'm going to demonstrate how to step-slide or run down this hill." I continued by saying, "Plant your weight directly above your shoe, shifting some of your weight slightly to your heels and take big steps as you go down. Be sure to lift your toes so your snowshoes are parallel to the horizon." Down I went briskly but with tact.

Snowshoeing Education 102: What Do I Want Them to Learn?

In any type of training or instruction, a teacher first asks him or herself, "What is it I want my students to learn?" So, they establish an objective that would identify what it is they want students to be able to do when they are finished with training. This would be the learning outcome. The most obvious objective in learning to snowshoe would be for someone to acquire the skill of walking on snowshoes.

Snowshoeing Education 101

Two teams of college students vivaciously run between two suspended hoops on poles, as one member slam-dunks a ball through one of the hoops. The ball is passed to an opposing team member who anxiously waits out of bounds to set that ball in motion once again. And the rush toward the hoop on the other end of the court begins all over. It's that good old American sport of basketball. But in this game it is played a little differently.