The temptation to curl up into hibernation - that is until Punxsutawney
Phil peeps his head out to proclaim the onset of warmer
weather - is oh-so real. Like a devious temptress, my ultra-soft
blanket perpetually beckons me to binge-watch Netflix, but I do
my best to ignore its advances. While I’ve never been shy about
loving the crisp winter months, sometimes making a concerted
effort to get outside and play is a struggle - although I’m always
glad I did. I find having an encouraging, outdoor hobby does the
trick and my trusty snowshoes always seem to get me on the
As a kid, I loved to go cross-country skiing and I’m almost certain
I acquired my well-worn set of skis from a church rummage sale.
While I enjoy great gear as much as the next person, sometimes
you just have to go with what you got! Luckily, my snowshoes
have a little more clout these days, and provide great access to
the outdoors. While there are many places to explore with a thick
layer of snow on the ground, today I chose to trek Scantic Linear
Park West in Enfield. The parking lot is just off Route 190 between
Holiday Lane and Park Street; this is just one of the many
trails hugging the north and south sides of the Scantic River.
The loop trail begins flat, a great warm-up prior to the long,
downward embankment heading toward the river. Silence within
the snow laden woods is astounding and each crunchy step
seems to echo forever throughout the woods. The trail parallels
the river for quite some time before turning up to the right and
connecting back to itself at the beginning of the loop. At only .35
of a mile, it’s a great trail to “get your feet wet” without feeling
There’s truly something to be said for shaking off the dust and
breathing in some fresh air, particularly at a time when I feel (and
actually am) more stagnant than usual (I blame both the chill and
work)! It does wonders - physically, mentally and socially - to be
outside enjoying some Nordic-like adventures. So if you’re willing
to bundle up, I found a few places that can get you going -
whether you need to rent some equipment before hitting the trail
- or just need a destination to get back into the swing of things.
145 Lang Road . Windsor, CT . (860)285-1886 . northwestpark.org
473-acre multi-recreational facility offering 12-miles of trails! There is no fee to use
the trails. However, rental on weekends of skis, poles, and boots, or snowshoes does
have a fee. Rentals are $10 per Windsor resident and $15 per non-Windsor resident.
Please call the Nature Center for current conditions.
MAPLE CORNER FARM
794 Beech Hill Rd . Granville, MA . (413)357-8829 . maplecornerfarm.com
A working family farm since 1812, has a friendly atmosphere that the whole family
can enjoy. The scenic cross country ski trails lead you through pastures and meadows,
along mountain streams, through the current Sugar Bush, and into the forest and
hills beyond. The rental shop has over 200 sets of skis and over 40 pairs of snowshoes
for children through adult. Call for conditions, times and rental info!
883 Tinkham Rd . Wilbraham, MA . explorefountainpark.com
A great network of trail ranging from 1/2 mile to 11/2 mile in length, terrain is mostly
flat with a few speed bumps and small gullies to cross.
LAUGHING BROOK NATURE SANCTUARY
Main Street . Hampden, MA . (413)584-3009 . massaudubon.org
Beautiful and tranquil, property features woodlands, meadows, and streams along
its four-mile trail system in its 353-acre property. The Sanctuary is open from dawn
to dusk for all to view its spectacular variety of wildlife year round. There's also great
programs here this month, including Winter Walk and Animal Tracking - check website
SHENIPSIT STATE FOREST
Somers, Stafford, Ellington . Entrance: 360 Gulf Road Somers, CT . ct.gov
If climbing 1,075-feet to Soapstone Mountain sounds daunting, don’t worry! There
are seemingly endless multi-use trails sprinkled across 11 parcels between the towns
of Somers, Ellington, and Stafford. Soapstone Loop A (between Route 190 and Gulf
Road) is great for snowshoeing!