|Wild Earth Adventures|
|Wild Earth Adventures|
There are many winter pleasures available to those of us who love the outdoors, especially during times when there's snow on the ground. For more than a few of us, snowshoeing is a favorite way to have a wonderful time enjoying the winter woods, following beautiful snow-covered trails through hilly or mountainous terrain.
While it may not be as sexy as skiing (since it doesn't involve high-speed thrills), snowshoeing is safer and a terrific way to get a major workout, although it can also be done in easier, less intense ways. It's a tried-and-true (several-thousand-years-old) means of getting around in the snow on foot. And more than a little fun!
What are the benefits of snowshoeing? Aside from the exhilarating exercise, it gets us out into the fresh mountain air during a season when many of us spend far too much time indoors. Sagging winter spirits are likely to soar when we explore nature in snowshoes, whether in sunshine, on cloudy days, or when it's snowing.
Like hiking, snowshoeing totally immerses us in the natural world, an especially easy place to shed stress -- where it's peacefully quiet and there's endless beauty to inspire us around every bend of the snow-covered trails. Along with the splendid scenery of mountain forests, we sometimes see wildlife and winter bird-life.
Anyone who can hike is capable of hiking in snowshoes -- there's little to learn. All you have to do is strap/buckle/snap your snowshoes onto your hiking boots and you're ready to go. The only requirement is substantial snow on the ground, preferably a foot or more, which does sometimes accumulate in local mountain areas.
Since snow can never be predicted well in advance, we don't put snowshoe hikes on our schedule until sufficient snow materializes. As you'll see on the Trip Schedule page, we schedule hikes every weekend during the winter months -- but when enough snow arrives, some hikes are replaced by snowshoeing trips.
Everyone who is on our e-mail list is kept informed of schedule changes, and receives a notice whenever one or more snowshoeing trips are scheduled (changes aren't always posted right away on the website). If you'd like to get on our list, send your e-mail address by clicking the "email us" link on the left hand column.
We usually offer two levels of difficulty, "easy" and "moderate" trips. Those rated easy are suitable for beginners and anyone who's looking for an outing that's not too physically demanding, although there's still ample exercise involved. Moderate trips are for people who are in good-to-great shape and want a fairly major workout. Occasionally we schedule an in-between level, "easy-moderate."
Typically on an easy trip we hike in our snowshoes a total of 3-5 miles at a somewhat leisurely pace, over gently hilly terrain, with rest breaks. On a moderate trip we usually do at least 6-7 miles or more through sometimes steeper terrain with lots of ups and downs. Distances may be adjusted based on snow conditions. Hiking a certain distance in snowshoes requires more exertion than regular walking or hiking -- it's often like hiking 50% more distance when the ground is bare.
Snowshoes are available for purchase and sometimes for rental at many outdoor supply stores, especially those that sell hiking gear. Rental fees are usually very reasonable, and some stores will allow you to keep the snowshoes for several days when you pay the basic rental price. E-mail us for recommendations of the best stores and websites.
Will you be joining us on some snowshoeing trips this winter? While there's no guarantee that we'll get lots of snow, most winters there's enough for snowshoeing on at least several weekends, and occasionally we can snowshoe many weeks in a row, as we did in February and March of 2015. Consider planning to share some memorable times with us in the snow!