Seeing on the news that roughly 30-40 miles north of Syracuse had received 2 feet of lake-effect snow, I was eager to get in some snowshoeing. (Sadly, snowfall for 2013 in and around Syracuse has been disappointing, as was 2012. Hopefully we'll see a change in accumulation for the rest of the season.)
Using my trusty Google Maps, I located Winona State Forest and found that it hosted many miles of X-Country ski and snowmobile trails, so I decided to give it a whirl. ( www.winonaforest.com )
Nearly 10,000 acres of state land, Winona Forest hosts a list of year-round activities including a X-Country ski race and snowshoe race in the winter months. There are over 50 miles of multi-purpose trails, from wide groomed boulevards, to tracked ski trails, to single-track snowshoe trails.
Once I happened upon the single-track snowshoe trail (which is not marked on the map, but can be found at the intersection of Bargy Road and Frank's Fancy), I found it to be very enjoyable. It was extremely well-marked and offered a variety of terrain. There were signs of wildlife everywhere, and I can imagine after a batch of fresh powder being able to spot some of the creatures who had been leaving tracks. It appeared that even the local deer heard enjoyed the well-marked snowshoe trail!
When I left the car, it was about 14 degrees with little wind, but I suspect the temp dropped a bit more in the shelter and shade of the forest... next time, I'll bring an insulated water bottle!
Here is an interesting phenomena - "drooping snow"... I surmise that the tree branch absorbed enough heat from the sun to break the bond with the snow, but that the cold air temp allowed the snow clump to stay in tact and connected.
This section of young conifers makes for a classic X-Country ski trail scene and photo:
And, finally a safety tip for trekking in cold weather:
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