Hilaire Vachon Snowshoes June 01st, 2018 - 00:49:08
Wildlife sightings along the trails are frequent and common. The silent aspect of the sport of Nordic skiing is perfect for wildlife observation since the animals are not easily disturbed by the quiet approach of a skier. Deer are abundant and the chance of seeing them is very high. Winter sightings of beaver squirrels rabbits and fox or coyote are possible. The birds who remain in the area during winter are everywhere: eagles crows hawks a wide variety of finches chickadees jays nuthatches and woodpeckers fill the woods and grasslands. This past winter in addition to the many other owls who live here there was an influx of the great Snowy Owls who usually remain north of the border in Canada. Due to a cyclically bad year for voles in Canada the beautiful birds have migrated further south into Minnesota to find a better source of food. They are spectacular to see and silent in flight so keep your eyes open and watch for them. There are many informational sites on the internet to explore before arriving for a Minnesota vacation. The Minnesota DNR site is loaded with information regarding the exploration of the thousands of acres of public lands within the state. Other area websites offer full information on lodging options and as well as events calendars that explain upcoming events and activities in the surrounding communities.
Along with the recent popularity of snowshoeing technology has stepped up and designed and manufactured more durable and lightweight snowshoes. Snowshoes have come a long way since the wooden framed rawhide-laced versions worn by Inuits and Native Americans. If you want to try snowshoeing check with local ski rental shops where you plan to snowshoe. Most will have snowshoes for rent. This is a good way to see if this is a sport you want to get into. The experts in the rental shops should be able to offer advice on size and type of snowshoes to rent. Along with the snowshoes they will fit you with appropriate sized poles that will come in handy during your hike. You should also have a good pair of insulated winter boots and gaiters (gaiters fit over your pants and boot tops) to keep your feet warm and dry. Start off by practicing walking with your snowshoes on near the trailhead until you feel comfortable and ready to venture out. Take it slow and conserve energy by keeping your feet close to the snow so youre almost shuffling along.
Backpacking and hiking snowshoes will be fairly similar with the exception that when you are backpacking you will be carrying a heavy backpack and will need extra weight capacity to accommodate your backpack. Snowshoes work on the principle of weight displacement so if you weigh more that is if you have a heavy backpack on the snowshoes need to be bigger to displace the larger amount of weight. Many snowshoes have optional tails available which can be attached to increase their surface area. If you want a pair of snowshoes for backpacking a model with optional tails would be a good choice. Running snowshoes however are very different from the hiking and backpacking kind.
Choosing a snowshoe takes a little bit of know-how so Im going to let you know what to look for when buying your first pair. By the way its a good idea to maybe rent some snowshoes first just to make sure this is going to be a good fit for you. To pick the best snowshoe figure out what type of snow you will be hiking on. Is it hard pack on a groomed trail such as a cross-country ski area? You dont need long snowshoes if youre trekking on groomed trails. Most of the time a 22" will do. You do want good traction so choosing a shoe with the metal crampons on them is important. A good shoe for this is MSR Lightning Ascents. They have the steel teeth around the perimeter of the snowshoe. Will you be going off trail into some deep powder? If so you will to select a longer snowshoe. Many times you need to know what the max height and weight load is for a snowshoe and that can be found fairly easily with a little research. Many brands of snowshoes will offer a "tail" as an optional purchase to give you more flotation in deep powder. No need to hibernate during the winter months any longer. Many people can and do get out and enjoy winter to its fullest and now armed with this knowledge you can be out there and enjoy mother nature too on your snowshoes.