Archive for the ‘Snowshoeing’ Category

Ski trails at Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area

Ski trails at Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area

High in the hills, between Canadice Lake and Honeoye Lake, Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area has the premier cross-country ski trail network in the Finger Lakes Region, with trails groomed by the N.Y.S. Section V Ski League. Here, courtesy of the Rochester Nordic Ski Club is pdf file up-to-date map of the groomed ski trails at Harriet Hollister:

Snow Trails guidebook

Snow Trails guidebook

For other places to cross-country ski or snowshoe throughout Central & Western New York State, download a copy of the ebook Snow Trails.

Also, click  here for the Rochester Nordic Ski Club newsletter which lists the  mileage for each trail at Hariet Hollister:March 2013 RNSC Newsletter


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Parents are always looking for inexpensive family fun. Timely, with autumn here and winter around the corner, there’s no need to look further than the backyard or the local park. Getting outdoors during the colder winter months can build memories, strengthen relationships, and just be an all-out fun bonding experience for families. Playoutdoors.com offers these great ideas and the gear to go with it.

1. Birdwatching
Get to know your local birds. The fall migration of birds is a wonderful time to teach kids about birds. Help kids identify the birds at your feeder by borrowing a birding field guide from your library or using one of the many fantastic online resources for bird identification. Binoculars are also a great way to see birds upclose and personal. There are many brands of kids binoculars available that are both lightweight and small enough for little hands and eyes.

2. Snowshoeing
A less expensive sport for people in snowy areas, the nice part about snowshoeing is that almost anyone who can walk can do it. From preschoolers to teen sizes, snowshoes attach easily to boots and provide hours of family fun, fresh air, and exercise.

3. Go on a picnic
There’s nothing better than sharing quality time and a family meal in the crisp, outdoor air in the middle of the day. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to the local park or farther away these are the moments children will remember sharing when they grow up. Picnic baskets today have evolved from charming baskets we used as kids. Today there are a variety of easy to carry soft coolers that keep food organized and cold at the same time…and also work year-round.

4. Snow Painting
All kids need is a few water bottles with a squirt top, some water, food coloring, and some snow. Fill each bottle with water and some food coloring and then head outside. A little imagination and some creativity will result in some great works of art. Playoutdoors.com recommends bottles that are BPA free and that can be easily cleaned.

snowman5. Build a snowman, ice castle…
Oh, remember those days building snow people with the first snow fall. t Playing in the snow and packing snow should be fun for kids, not miserable, cold and wet. When introducing little ones to snow play, it’s important they have the right gear: coats and mittens, scarves, hats, and snow boots. Waterproof is the key to staying warm and dry. Waterproof and insulated mittens work best on children to age 7. Gloves are recommended for older kids and teens.

link to original source

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It’s winter – time to plan for some fun in the snow. If you live in or near Monroe, Wayne or Ontario Counties, there are trails nearby that provide opportunities for a quick evening moonlit ski or a longer weekend outing. Here are 10 of my favoritesSnow Trails.

Monroe County
1. Mendon Ponds Park in Mendon has 20 miles of groomed trails for all levels of ability. The trails wind among the eskers, kames and kettle ponds of this glacially sculpted landscape. It’s a popular winter playground for avid skiers.
2. Powder Mills Park in Pittsford is another hilly park with 8 miles of marked, groomed trails.
3. For less hilly terrain, try Webster Park along the shore of Lake Ontario. It is the beneficiary of lake effect snows. Escape into the wilderness in the middle of suburbia on a myriad of loop trails.
4. Genesee Country Nature Center in Mumford is great for families. There’s a small entrance fee, but you’ll find 4.5 miles of easy, groomed trails, a warming hut, and restrooms. Plus you can rent skis or snowshoes on site.

Ontario County
5. Canadice Lake Trail parallels the west shore of Canadice Lake with gorgeous views for an easy 7.4 mile round trip. For more of a challenge, try the side loop trails up the steep hillside.
6. Cumming Nature Center is a week-end family favorite with amenities and equipment rentals. It offers 15 miles of groomed trails. There is a small entrance fee.
7. Skiers’ Mecca is Harriet Hollister State Memorial Recreation Area south of Honeoye Lake. This park sits at high elevation and promises snow cover when the rest of the area is barren. The 20 miles of trails are groomed by volunteers from the N.Y.S. Section V Ski League and are used for ski races. The trails wind through pristine woods and one trail offers a panoramic view north over Honeoye Lake.

Wayne County
8. Casey Park in Ontario offers a 1.8-mile round trip on a flat trail along the shore of a lake that formed in an old iron ore quarry. The more adventurous can continue around the lake on the hilly, narrow north shore trail with gorgeous views down to the lake.
9. Blue Cut Nature Center sits between Newark and Lyons. Here you’ll find 2 miles of easy trails through the woods and along a marshland. The trails are free, but don’t expect amenities.

When you head out to ski, it’s helpful to have a guide specific to winter such as the local guidebook “Snow Trails.” The guide describes which parking areas are plowed in winter, which roads remain unplowed and become part of the ski trail network. You’ll also learn how each trail is rated in terms of beginner, intermediate and expert runs, and which trails are too narrow and steep and are best left for adventurers on snowshoes.

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I have a new favorite fabric for being more comfortable while skiing! And that is Smartwool! I expect any merino wool fabric will perform the same, but Smartwool has a nice product line. I have occasionally worn their socks, and have long worn their glove liners, but now have moved onto a Smartwool base layer shirt and gloves and socks full time.
The wool is claimed to be non-itchy and probably is. It is so close to non-itchy that what I find may be imagination. What it excels at is comfort when damp (much less clammy than the Sporthill synthetics I also use) and warmth. I have also tried the Smartwool long underwear and found it to be extremely comfortable, just the thing for 5 or 10 degrees F.
Wool can be expensive, but it is reported to wear like iron. Bargain purchases can be had at www.sierratradingpost.com . If you give them your email, they often send coupons for free shipping and up to 35% off anything.

by Gary Reif (I think) via the Rochester Nordic Ski newsletter :Feb 2013 newsletter vol 39 issue 4c

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Don’t stay in the house just because fall and winter are here! Come out and join the Paths Peaks & Paddles crew for a Tuesday evening hike or snowshoeing adventure. The hike is FREE. Because WNY weather is so unpredictable the evening hike can be anywhere! We have ventured out to local parks, local bike paths, along creeks, lakes or even Niagara Falls. The average evening hike is anywhere from 2 to 4 miles. If/when snow hits we venture out and snowshoe. The snowshoe hike is FREE. Rental of any gear is always an option.

All hikes are weather dependent. We will hike in anything except rain! Because we like to explore different areas of WNY we try to leave our facility at 6:00 PM. If you would like to join us please contact us at 716-213-0350. We do car pool to our hiking destination so you should plan to be at our facility by 5:45 PM.

Dress for the weather, bring water, hiking poles if you desire. Hiking poles are available for rent. When snow hits you are welcome to rent snowshoes and poles.

Paths Peaks & Paddles, Inc.
1000 Ellicott Creek Rd., Tonawanda, NY 14150
Ph: 716-213-0350

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Winter is the reason many hiking clubs avoid using white blazes as trail markings.

Bob, the Natureguy, described how the Conservation Trail, a branch of the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT), became blazed orange:
“The group was hiking the Finger Lakes Trail in Allegany State Park. These were old timers in the Finger Lakes Trail organization. It was a nice fall day. A freak snowstorm hit while they were on the trail. It took them hours to get back since the early wet snow stuck to the trees and obscured the white blazes. They had to brush every tree to look for blazes and find their way back. They vowed the new trail would not have that problem and chose orange for the Conservation Trail blazes.”

He went on to explain, “It would be a momentous task to change the blazing of the FLT. It would be very expensive and take many dollars and many years. Not just the marks, but all the printed literature and reference material would have to be changed. And there is logic to the color schemes when there are trail junctions. Over almost a 1/2 century those color schemes have been worked out so there are no conflicts. All trails that intersect with the FLT could be affected. It is not just one trail. The FLT is a primary trail that a multitude of trails across the state radiate from or intersect. So, unfortunately, the color is what is, for bad or good and do not expect it to change.”

It is easy to loose the white blazes in a white-out of snow, so be extra careful when hiking or snowshoeing white-blazed trails such as the Finger Lakes Trail. Always take some extra warm/dry layers with you and some snacks and water in case your outing gets extended due to a change in conditions.

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Here’s a helpful guidebook on having fun in the snow in the Lake George Region: 25 Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Lake George, NY Region

Roger Fulton and Michael Carpenter spent an entire winter exploring snowy trails in the Lake George Region on both cross country skis and snowshoes. They have chosen 25 of the best trails for you to get out and explore. The difficulty and lengths vary, but nearly all are easy or moderate, with the emphasis on easy. As always, they give you explicit directions from an Interstate (I-87). More than 60 full color photos help you find the trailheads and navigate the trails.

This is just the book to help you get out of the house on a clear winter day to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the North Country in winter. So whether you choose a flat, short and easy trail in Queensbury, or want a full week retreat at a cross country ski resort in the Eastern Adirondacks, it’s in this book. Get out and enjoy!

Click here to order a copy 

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