Monday, January 26, 2009

Hit the Trails on Snowshoes

The depths of our Southern Ontario winter need not be the end of your 2008 hiking season. Instead make it the start of your 2009 season.

What better way to enjoy those crisp, sunny, winter days than soaking in the solitude of the bush with nothing to hear but the crunch and squeak of your snowshoes. Snowshoeing hasn’t been an extremely popular winter pastime, especially in Southwestern Ontario, for many years; mostly due to the lack of snow. But, the last couple of winters have certainly changed all that.

Now you can not only head into the parks, conservation areas, and crown forests on a pair of snowshoes, but you’ll find that you absolutely need them.

Many provincial parks and conservation areas, like those managed by the
Grand River Conservation Authority, provide a variety of snowshoe trails of varying length and difficulty levels. As an added bonus many of them offer snowshoe rentals, food concessions, and warm-up areas so you can enjoy several different trails in a day and still have a central location to thaw out your fingers and toes.

If you’re new to the sport, start off on shorter trails and wear layers of clothes. You’ll likely find that snowshoeing is a lot more strenuous than hiking and there is nothing worse than working up a sweat when the temperature is well below the freezing mark.

Check with your local parks and conservation areas and get the family out on the trails this winter. This is the start of your 2009 hiking season.