Snowshoeing: The Ultimate Winter Hike
January 25th, 2018 by Curtis Condon

Snowshoeing is an excellent way to extend the hiking season. Hitting the trail in winter means more route choices, better visibility, fewer crowds and a different environment to explore.
© iStock/michaelangeloop

Hikers tend to be a hardy bunch. Rough trails, rain and cold weather are merely nuisances and rites of passage for many of them.

Yet snow more than ankle-deep is enough to keep even the most ardent of them indoors—unless, of course, they have a pair of snowshoes.

Snowshoeing is a first cousin to hiking. It involves the same body mechanics and motion, only with bigger footprints.

Snowshoeing has come a long way since the days when it was like strapping a pair of guitars to the bottom of your feet. The latest generation of snowshoes are smaller, lighter, stronger and easier to use.

They also are relatively inexpensive, especially compared to the cost of other winter sports gear. A good, basic pair of snowshoes costs less than $150. Rentals run about $15 a day.

A minute or two is all it takes to get the hang of snowshoes, and only a few minutes more to master the basics.

Snowshoeing requires more effort. Strides are more deliberate, pace is slower and maximum range is less than when hiking.

Walking on snow is an unforgettable experience, thanks in part to the incredible scenery. However, the blanket of white that makes winter travel so beautiful also can obscure trails and landmarks at ground level.

Staying on marked trails is recommended for first-timers. At all times, alertness and careful navigation can reduce the risk of getting lost. Experts recommend packing extra layers, food and water—just in case.

App of the Month—Weather Underground
Weather is always a consequential factor when venturing outdoors. It can make the difference between a blissful experience or a miserable one. That is why a reliable weather app is essential.

Along with the usual weather app features, Weather Underground provides what its developers call “hyper-local” weather reports from other users on the ground. Another unique feature is its list of actual first light and last light times, rather than just sun up and sun down.
Weather Underground is free, and available for Android and iOS devices.

Prevention is the Best Safeguard

The optimal fix for a stuck multi-piece fishing rod is to avoid getting it stuck in the first place. Keep ferrules clean and dry. Remove dirt and gunk inside the ferrule sleeve with a cotton swab and alcohol, and use a wipe to clean the end of the piece that fits within the sleeve. Storing rods assembled during the long off-season can increase the incidence of stuck ferrules, so make a habit of breaking down rods after each use.

What Day is It?

  • February 3, Feed the Birds Day
  • February 5, National Weatherman’s Day
  • February 8, Boy Scout Day
  • February 22, Walking the Dog Day

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Many of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.