A Winter Walk in the Woods
The stark and desolate beauty of a northern winter leaves me in awe. While the lushness of summer and soft warm breezes are welcome after months of cold and snow, there is a sense of the divine in the silent splendid wonder of winter.
I am a cross-country skier and I love being out in the brisk clear air hearing the swoosh of my skis on fresh snow. The best way to enjoy the winter is to get outside and play. I’ve kicked around the idea of snowshoeing for a couple of years and finally bought myself a pair as a Christmas present to myself. L.L. Bean offers a package deal including a set of poles and a very nice carrying bag, so I placed my order on-line and waited for the UPS guy to come.
Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are inexpensive activities and a great way for a family to spend time together. Once you have your gear the rest can be free. There is no need to travel to a ski resort, no lift tickets to buy or expensive rooms to rent, unless you choose to go that route. There are many local places where you can go for little or no charge. Just a few are, Hidden Lake Gardens, MacCready Reserve, Waterloo Recreation Area and The Dahlem Conservancy.
My favorite, when I’m going out alone, is the Dahlem Conversancy. There is a variety of terrain, from the open prairie to the pine forest. The trails are well marked and I feel safe out on the trails all by myself. I also have the office number on speed dial. If I run into trouble – a twisted ankle – they will quickly come to my rescue. The use of the trails is free, but it is well worth the small fee for a membership.
Last week I took a stroll through the woods on my snowshoes. When I got back in, I found I’d been out for two hours. I had no idea. The time went by so fast.
Here is a sample of what I saw while I was in the woods: