A two inch carpet of fresh new snow fell this afternoon. Winter has returned to the October Country Inn. Out comes the Winter gear: base layer clothing, gloves and mittens, boots, goggles and snowshoes. Soon I’m swooshing along an oft trodden trail through very familiar woods, but it doesn’t seem familiar. It’s different. I’m amazed how different such a familiar walk becomes when the woods are covered in snow. It’s like a completely different trail in a completely different place. In some ways, it is.
Snowshoeing is growing in popularity as those who love the outdoors rediscover this ancient form of snow travel revived by modern materials and design. Modern aluminum frame snowshoes are light and easy to walk with. Built-in cleats provide positive traction and prevent slippage on ice. Snowshoes are inexpensive as Winter sports equipment goes, and don’t require any special kind of shoes.
There are many close by snowshoe trail options. The October Country Inn is located on the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) trail network. This network of marked and mapped trails cover the state of Vermont, and connect with similar trail networks in adjoining states and Canada. There is access to the Catamount trail near Pico ski resort. The Catamount trail is a 300 mile cross-country ski and snowshoe trail that runs the length of Vermont. The trail is marked with blue blazes as well as little signs displaying the Catamount logo and is easily followed. Near Woodstock, trails to Mount Tom can be found at the back of Faulkner Park. Trails to Mount Peg can be found at the trail-head behind the Woodstock Inn.
If snowshoeing is something you’d like to try, snowshoe rentals are available at most ski/snowboard rental shops. Winter can be cold in Vermont, so dress in layers with insulated boots, gloves or mittens, hat, and goggles. Walking poles or ski poles are helpful but not necessary. Embrace Winter. Give snowshoeing a try.