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These commodities are almost indispensable to the trapper where

he pursues his vocation in the winter time, during the prevalence

of deep snows. When properly made they permit the wearer to walk

over the surface of the snow with perfect ease; where, without

them, travel would be extremely difficult if not impossible.

In the regions of perpetual snow, and also in Canada and neighboring

districts, snow-shoe
are very commonly worn. In the latter localities

the snow-shoe race forms one of the favorite sports of the season,

and young and old alike join in its mysteries. Like riding on the

velocipede, walking on snow-shoes looks easy enough, but we notice

that a few somersaults are usually a convincing argument that the art

is not as simple as it appears. The first experience on snow-shoes

is apt to be at least undignifying, if not discouraging, and in order

to get used to the strange capers and eccentricities of an ordinarily

well-behaved snow shoe, it requires considerable patience and practice.

There is no telling where, in an unguarded moment, they will land

you, and they seem to take especial delight in stepping on each

other and turning their wearer upside down. The principal secret

of success (and one may as well know it at the start, as to learn

it at the expense of a pint of snow down his back) consists in

taking steps sufficiently long to bring the widest portion of the

stepping shoe beyond that of the other, keeping the feet rather

far apart and stepping pretty high. By observing these precautions,

and trusting in Providence, much embarrassment may be saved, and

an hour's effort will thoroughly tame the unruly appendages, which

at best do not permit of much grace or elegance of gait.

To the moose hunter snow-shoes are often an absolute necessity,

and trapping in many cases would be impossible without them. They

are thus brought fully within the scope of our volume, and we give

a few simple directions for their manufacture. Our illustration

gives the correct shape of the shoe. The framework should consist

of a strip of ash, hickory or some other elastic wood, bent into

the form indicated and wound around the ends with twine or strips

of hide. The length of the piece should be about six feet, more

or less, in proportion to the size of the individual who proposes

to wear the shoe. If the bending should prove difficult it may

be rendered an easy matter by the application of boiling water.

Across the front part two strips of stout leather, or other tough

hide, are then fastened, and these further secured together by three

or four bands on each side of the middle, as our drawing shows.

In the original Indian snow-shoe, from which our drawing was made,

the net work was constructed from strips of moose hide, which were

interlaced much after the manner of an ordinary cane-seated chair.

Strips of leather, deer skin, or even split cane, above alluded to,

may also be used, and the lacing may be either as our illustration

represents, or in the simpler rectangular woof seen in ordinary


In order to attach the interlacing to the bow the latter should be

wound with wide strips of cane, if it can be procured, or otherwise

with strips of tough skin. The loops thus formed offer a continuous

security, and the whole interior, with the exception of the space

at the front between the cross pieces, should be neatly filled

with the next work. It is well to run the first lines

across the shoe, from side to side, passing through the windings

of the bow. Across them, in the form of the letter X, the two other

cords should be interlaced, after the manner shown in the cut.

This forms a secure and not very complicated network, and is the

style usually adopted by the Indian makers.

There is another mode of attaching the lace-work to the bow which

is also commonly employed, and consists in a series of holes bored

at regular intervals through the wood. The winding is thus dispensed

with, but the bow is sometimes weakened by the operation, and we are

inclined to recommend the former method in preference. In attaching

the shoe, the ball of the foot should be set on the second cross

piece, and there secured by a strip of hide, which should be first

adjusted as seen in the engraving, being afterward tied over the

foot and then behind the ankle. Snow-shoes are made in other ways,

but we believe that the typical Indian snow-shoe above described

is the best.