The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Snowshoers head out for a hike through the woods. Photo courtesy of 4 Seasons Hiking Group.

 Places to snowshoe

• Mack’s Farm, Londonderry
Trailhead parking between Pillsbury and Mammoth Roads
Adam’s Pond Trail: Three-mile loop goes around orchard, through wooded section and over four bridges
North Orchard Trail: Less than a mile loop among apple trees, downhill section and wetland crossing
• Mine Falls Park, Nashua
Park in Stadium Road lot 
325-acre park in the center of Nashua includes forest, wetlands, and open fields
Nashua Canal Trail: Part of 6-mile loop series
Silk Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Concord
McLane Center, 84 Silk Farm Road
Trails with easy to moderate difficulty. Rentals offered Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $10 per day. Trails open dawn to dusk, subject to trail conditions.
Massabesic Center, Auburn 26 Deerneck Road
Level trails with easy to moderate difficulty. Rentals offered Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $9 per day. Trails open dawn to dusk, subject to trail conditions.
Deering Wildlife Sanctuary, Deering
Two parking lots plowed in the winter located off of Clement Hill Road. 
More remote trails feature wooded areas, wetlands and ponds. Trails open dawn to dusk, subject to trail conditions.
Ponemah Bog, Amherst
Off 101A, features 1-mile long, flat loop trail through a bog
Trails open dawn to dusk.
Samuel Myron Chase Wildlife Sanctuary, Hopkinton
Off Jewett Road
Heavily wooded trails are level, with marshes. Trails open dawn to dusk, subject to trail conditions.
• Abe Emerson Marsh, Candia
100 acre property features large pine trees and a large marsh. Trails open dawn to dusk, subject to trail conditions.
Beaver Brook Association, Hollis
117 Ridge Road
18 miles of easy to moderate trails through forests, fields and wetlands. Snowshoe rentals are $10 per weekday and $20 per weekend. Check calendar for full moon snowshoe outings. 
America’s Stonehenge, Salem
105 Haverhill Road
Trails through 105 acres of woodland. Admission with rentals costs $14 adults, $10 12 and under; admission only costs $8 adults, $5 12 and under. Check calendar for evening candlelight snowshoeing outings.
Pats Peak Ski Area, Henniker
686 Flanders Road
Forest discovery trail. 1.0 mi, average 45 minutes round trip
Mile-long Forest Discovery Trail has posted details about 12 indigenous tree species. Limited amount of snowshoes available for rental.
Gunstock Cross Country and Snowshoe Center, Gilford
719 Cherry Valley Road
Trails range from easy to most difficult. Day passes cost $17 adult, $14 children age 6 - 12. Rentals are also available.
Benedictine Park, Bedford
Wallace Road
Perimeter Trail: Less than a mile, around the edge of a field
Cobb Trail: Less than a mile through woodland, moderate difficulty

Over the river and through the woods
Snowshoe your way through winter

By Allie Ginwala

Take a walk through a winter wonderland this season with snowshoes.

Unlike skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing requires little training before heading out. 
“It’s a sport that you can easily go out after one day and know what you're doing,” John Lane, founder and organizer of 4 Seasons Hiking Group, said in a phone interview. 4 Seasons is a volunteer group that formed on that hosts outdoor activities year round, including snowshoeing. 
Richie Holstein, chair of the trails committee for AMC-NH, said that once you get the basics, snowshoeing is pretty easy to do. 
“People often ask me if there is any kind of technique involved, and you do have to keep your feet farther apart, [but] that’s about it folks,” he said in a phone interview. “If you like to hike and do other foot-powered things, chances are you’ll take to snowshoeing.” 
All you really need in order to snowshoe is an open area and a snowy ground. Try it out in the backyard first to get acquainted with the feeling of the snowshoes before taking on a bigger outing. Once you get more comfortable, there are a lot of options for snowshoers in southern New Hampshire, with everything from cross country trails to conservation areas. 
Holstein suggested taking advantage of local parks, conservation areas and cross country trails that offer snowshoeing options. 
“Town offices will probably have a list of all those things,” Holstein said. “There are state parks and those are really great resources.”
The best way to pick a place to don the snowshoes is to go with “what you find prettier,” Holstein said. For example, on a windy day a wooded area will give more shelter or a trail around a body of water could have animals tracks to follow. 
More experienced snowshoers looking for a good view can try Miller State Park in Peterborough, which has four trails leading to the summit. 
“You can see 40 or 50 miles in some directions,” Holstein said. “You can see Boston and the Whites [Mountains].”  Beginners can get nice woodland views through 20 to 25 miles of flat trails at Beaver Brook in Hollis, he said. 
Once you’ve plotted out your path for the day, make sure you are well prepared. Whether you’re headed to the local park down the street or the trails in a state park, a few necessities should always be on hand. An easy way to know what to take is by following the hiker’s 10 essentials, Holstein said, which includes a map, compass, sunglasses, food, water, clothes, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, fire starter and knife. Even if you’re only planning to be out for a few hours, bring a backpack along.
Both Lane and Holstein emphasized that for snowshoeing in particular, dressing in layers is vital. “Snowshoeing you'll work up more of a sweat because you’re lifting a pound or so more per foot,” Holstein said. 
“You’re going to heat right up,” Lane said. “I would wear two [moisture] wicking shirts and a medium weight coat and bring a backpack. The worst thing you can do is go there with one big heavy coat.”
A fabric to avoid at all costs when snowshoeing, or during any outdoor physical activity, is cotton. “Cotton is the taboo of winter because it will soak up the moisture and you will get cold,” Lane said. “Don’t go out in jeans and do it. Have something polyester.”
Other articles of clothing to put in your pack are gloves, earmuffs and a hat. For extra balance, bring a pair of poles. When it comes to what shoes to wear in the snowshoes, go with gaiters, hiking boots or snow boots.
Of course the main piece of equipment needed when snowshoeing is the snowshoes. The McLane Center, Massabesic Center, Beaver Brook Association, America’s Stonehenge, Pats Peak Ski Area and Gunstock Cross Country and Snowshoe Center all rent snowshoes for daily use on their locations. If you want to try a trail or conservation area that doesn't offer rentals on site, outdoor sporting stores like Piche’s Ski & Sport and Eastern Mountain Sports have rental packages.
Whether you’re looking for adventure or simply want to see snow-covered trees up close this winter, snowshoeing can keep you happy and healthy. 
“It’s a great outdoor sport, you burn a lot of calories,” Lane said. “And it’s beautiful just to be outside and the health benefits are very good.”
“I like being out in the winter,” Holstein said. “It is completely different from summer hiking. You’ll find far fewer people. ... It tends to be a little bit quieter than summer and it’s just a completely different feel.” 
As seen in the January 1, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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