Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snowshoeing In Myles Standish State Forest


Today I went for a short 2-2.5 mile hike in the snow, or snowshoeing. If you've never done it, but enjoy hiking, then you really need to give snowshoeing a shot. Myles Standish State Forest in Carver, MA has a number of trails that are good for cross-country skiing & snowshoeing in the winter. We've had a good droppage of snow on the east coast in the past few weeks. Last year was pretty mild, and it seems like nature is making up for it.

After leaving the Jeep in a designated parking spot, I headed up into the woods following a snowmobile route. Wish I had come here a few days ago, after that last snowfall we had, as the trail wouldn't have been so packed from the machines. This is a road not open to vehicles.

100_0014 After about 15 minutes, I decided to go off road into the untouched white. When I re-entered the trail, I spotted some deer tracks here & there. In the distance was the scream of 2 snowmobiles several hundred yards behind me. That pretty much killed any chance of seeing some wildlife today. Other than that, it was pretty peaceful, save for the sounds of my snowshoes floating on the snow.

100_0026At one point, I followed along a route of power lines for about 20 minutes or so. There was the faint barking of a dog, sounded like a coon hound, then growing louder & louder. When I looked behind me, a truck was driving toward me. The man driving stopped and chatted for a minute. Said he was gonna let his dog loose in the woods, "see what he chases outta there."

As far as what's needed for snowshoeing, other than your normal hiking/backpacking gear, is a pair of snowshoes & maybe some poles. The snowshoes should be rated for your own body weight and for the type of snow you'll be walking through. For some good tips on snowshoeing check out this site, www.backpacking.net/winter.html .

100_0025 Remember to always bring some water when snowshoeing and, of course, a snack. I almost always have some sort of trail mix in my pack when I head into the woods, but today I was in the mood for something a bit sweeter.

For the hardcore 3-season hiker, snowshoeing is a great way to help keep your muscles in shape for the hiking seasons. It's an excellent cardio workout and definitely more strenuous than normal hiking, especially when climbing hills. Check your local ski shops about renting some snowshoes before you go ahead and spend a lot of money. Top of the line shoes can cost you over $300, but for the average person, there's no reason to spend that much. The shoes I bought were a close-out sale, costing me less than $100. Whether you go alone or with a group of friends, it's a lot of fun. Check it out!

~The Pilgrim.