With temperatures dropping and fresh snow blanketing the ground, it may appear that exercising outside must be halted until spring. However, with a few extra layers, you can stay active by participating in the multitude of snowshoeing events offered this winter.
At 1000 Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna, the Moonlight Snowshoe Hike on Feb. 13 is a great way to embrace the snow. “The fact that we lead the hike guided only by the moonlight, brings a new experience that many of our visitors have not had before. Being out in nature after dark is filled with different sights and sounds, from the shadow of an otter hopping along the ice to the sound of a Great Horned Owl calling,” says naturalist Debra Nowak.
Ledgeview Nature Center in Chilton also is offering winter hikes every Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. Jan. 11-Feb. 22. “We do a lot of tracking of animals that have been active recently. We also look at trees and talk about how to identify them from their bark and what happens to plants and insects during the winter,” says assistant naturalist Louis Marum.
Aspiring snowshoe explorers are not limited to leisurely walks and hikes during the winter. Races on snowshoes are offered as well this season. Mosquito Hill Nature Center in New London is holding their Annual Mosquito Hill Snowshoe Race on Jan. 24 at 8:30 a.m. The race will include a 1-mile, 3-mile and 5-mile race, as well as an 800-meter kids race. After the race, Mosquito Hill is holding a Family Fun Day the remainder of the day from noon to 3 p.m.
Mosquito Hill’s naturalist, Jessica Miller, said that her favorite part of the race is to see all of the “different ages and abilities” of the participants. Since a kids race is included, racers are as young as 4 or 5 years old. However, there are “people up into their 60s and 70s that participate,” says Miller.
Even without any prior snowshoeing experience, any of these seasonal events are great outlets for getting exercise. Whether your motivation is to just have fun, hang out with friends, or fulfill your New Year’s resolution, you don’t want to pass up trying on a pair of snowshoes this year.
—By Jessica Morgan