Snowshoeing Maine trails, one more winter outdoor option.
Strapping on a pair of snowshoes, zipping up the jacket, pulling on a pair of warm gloves or mittens. Hitting the snowshoe trails for lots of fresh air, eye candy on a Sunday morning in Maine. Blogging about the snowshoeing across Nickerson Lake and up the Crescent Mountain Trail loop today for you Me In Maine readers. Radar and Archie, the two dogs acting like kids equally excited about the trek along the north shoreline of Nickerson Lake in New Limerick. Before veering sharply south to snowshoe straight across the frozen Maine lake ice. To start the gradual climb up the winding, weaving hillside trail using snow Mother Nature and Jack Frost provided us.
Cobalt cloudless blue skies, bright sunshine and social distancing snowshoeing Maine trail exercising.
Hints of spring higher temperatures in the air. The mix of stronger sun rays mixed with the snow crust crunching under foot made me thing of maple syrup operations. Got my COVID shot this past Friday and feeling pretty good about that. How about you? Rolled up the sleeve yet? Stay tuned for a blog post on that end of winter, here comes spring ritual in Maine in a future blog post. Today on Nickerson Lake it is ice shacks for fishing, I counted seven huts in the section of Nickerson Lake that our party of five snowshoers and two K-9’s passed.
Cleared sections of the Maine lake exposed for pond hockey ice skating games in front of one log waterfront cottage.
The smell of bacon grilling and sizzling from one ice shack owned by Frank McPartland, my classmate and plumber. When you snow sled, stopping into the ice fishing shanties is fun. Frank and I and about twenty other die hard sled heads used to pack up this time of year. To snow sled into Bowlin Pond Camps in the Shin Pond area of Penobscot County. Those trips went on for about twenty years until families started the same tradition.
You see a couple snow sleds drift in and shut down beside the ice fishing shacks. To check in, shoot the breeze and visit before back on the way to a Poker Run. Or to hit a sled trail diner dotting the map around Maine. Maine winters are not meant to be spent on tramped inside. Mainers are outside all year long and simply make the appropriate clothing adjustments to match the temperature conditions.
Heading up the Hand family section of the Crescent Mountain Trail, the snowshoe pathway groomed, smooth, wide.
High, wide and handsome is the Maine expression. We met about eight snowmobile sled machines on the ITS section of the Maine trail. Simply stepping to one side as you hear their approach while they slowly pass, smile, wave. Without words, all of us sharing the same thought. Isn’t it a beautiful day to be in Maine, out on the trails? Gotta do this more, why don’t I make this a habit? Snowshoeing is low cost, the lightweight gear packs up and stores easy in your car or kitchen mudroom entry closet.
This time out on snowshoes for us to explore and discover one more trail experience.
It’s like a video game where something different is ahead on the Maine winter snow trail.
Leaving the wide easy opening to funnel into a narrow less traveled trail that snow sleds avoid. Not wide enough for the front ski expanse of the snowmobile trails today. Years ago, snow sleds were narrow tight skis upfront and not so wide beds. Because there were not many trails and you had to squeeze between trees to make your own path ahead.
Kneeling on one knee, throwing your weight into the corners to help the snow machine go where you needed before oh oh. You are sinking and heading up hill. Good luck getting out of this mess of bottomless soft snow with not end in sight. Great exercise if you get sucked off the trail and brought to a sudden halt. Snowshoeing means anything area covered in white is fair game to explore and way less energy sapping. You set the pace alone or in a pack of snowshoers on the slew of Maine trail choices.
Some snowshoeing trails take more planning and are more strenuous.
Like what if you want to snowshoe Mt Kineo for one example.
Not just the incline but the winter temperatures and wind that make it simple or requiring more thought and preparation. When snowshoeing, doing anything outdoors in Maine winter. Winter camping at Mt Katahdin. Ever done it or only visit Maine’s highest mountain wearing a t-shirt and for a one day up and down summer hike? Toting your water bottle or camel pack and some trail snacks. In and out, quick and easy. Pass the Gorp please. Watch those slippery sliding trail rocks, especially heading down when slow down. You’re going too fast kids.
Watch a video that outlines what snowshoeing Mt Kineo in the Moosehead Lake region of Greenville Maine involves.
Past blog posts have highlighted small downhill skiing Maine trails, others snowmobiling them.
Hiking, biking, so many ways to put the trail loops to good use year round. Snow covered or iced over Maine lakes do not stop you when on cross country skis. When you ride a sled or wear snowshoes with the easy adjustable snaps. Drilling a couple holes to ice fish and clearing sections to flood with lake water to create your own Zamboni like smooth solid skating surface. Outdoor pond hockey ice skating is so different than being on artificial indoor Maine hockey arena ice. Lose the puck easier too outside when someone lifts it with too much flex. And the game stops until the black rubber disc is retrieved when you play outdoor lake or pond ice hockey. When your buckle of extra pucks runs out and like golf balls, time to retrieve.
The smell of the pine and fir wood trails as we leave a clearing and go up, down, sideways snowshoeing.
The lake residents that do use their places along the shoreline show a plum of wood smoke trailing upward overhead. You study the wildlife tracks as you leave the lake community to head into the Maine woods. Radar a beagle and spaniel mix curious about a hole under some tree roots. Archie a special breed of yellow like golden retriever more of a light platinum blonde color and much bigger doing the same sniffing. To rout it out and convinced something just scurried down that hole in the crusty trail side winter wonderland snow.
Snowshoeing Maine trails is something all ages can do easily, affordably through out winter.
The snowshoes are not like your great grandfathers with hand carved wood of brown ash or other pliable timber. Missing animal parts strung together for the webbing to keep you on top of the snow and from sinking. The harness to attach your foot to the snowshoe is not make of leather and laced to secure it these days. Lightweight aluminum, adjustable to your foot and with lots of ways to increase or tighten the custom fit. Smaller less bulky design to fit to the shoeshoer’s weight and height describes the snowshoe fit today. With or without adjustable telescopic poles, your choice. I think with poles adjusted to your arm length and height that you use upper body muscles to propel the trails. The lower legs get a work out snowshoeing but why ignore inviting the arms and upper body to the exercise outdoors in Maine right?
A couple hours outdoors hitting the trails using snowshoes.
This is one easy option to get your daily fix of Maine outdoors when you already live here. Still thinking about the trail sights, the wildlife tracks and how much fun the two dogs had on the snowshoe outing as I hunt and peck today. Can’t wait until the next time but also, thinking I want to downhill or cross country skiing soon. How much fun snow sledding the trails this time of year would be. It is hard not to think about should I buy a new snowmobile and would I use it more than the one I have that has a few years on it?
The snow sleds today come from four brands and feature much improved suspension systems and less trips to trail side gas pump stops needed.
Since the days of tinker for two hours to enjoy them for one sixty minute time interval. Smelling like two cycle motor oil mixed in the fuel and it was not like the four cycle quieter experience snow sledding today! Plus the trail system is so much more expansive and developed with strong local Maine snowmobile clubs working hard to add new ones. To build bridges to cross waterways and remove the sharp curves for safety sake. As new trails are cut and groomed for local and out of town snowmobilers to enjoy. Winter recreation is really a shot in the arm for the local tourism economy. Especially during the COVID pandemic when the virus makes hitting the trails so safe and easy in vast, rural low population Maine.
Snowshoeing Maine trails.
Signing in on the Crescent Park Trail shows you folks use this loop year round like you do.
Snowbirds that today are in the sunny south are thinking of spring, summer, fall walks on the same pathways. The trail ones snow covered not green. And with sparkling snow crystals today causing the sunshine reflection magic. Getting outdoors in Maine any season really energizes and excites your insides. Those inner places where you remind yourself again and again how lucky I am truly am to live in Maine. More on Maine snowshoe trail options if you have the bug.
Thank you for sticking around to read to the end of this blog post and imagery on one snowshoeing trail hike up and down the Crescent Mountain trail. Across Nickerson Lake in Aroostook County Maine one winter Sunday morning wearing snowshoes to experience the great outdoors.