Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to become an outdoor family

At least once every couple weeks I talk to a friend or acquaintance who expresses interest in getting outside more, doing more adventures in the mountains as a family, and in general becoming an outdoor family.  I've been recently asked when is a good time to start hiking as a family and how old a child has to be.  I've also heard several moms express frustration when the whole family isn't 100% on board with the mission of being outdoors together; be it Dad who wants to relax at home after working all week, or a six year old who feels like the weekend is his or her only down time to sleep in, play with their toys, and have no schedule.

This is going to be a long list of suggestions (in no particular order of importance) but if you follow my blog regularly, you know that many of my posts are long, well researched and thought out stories that usually percolate in my mind for many weeks before I write them.  Grab a cup of coffee, glass of wine or whatever relaxes you and enjoy!

Find other outdoor families to help as mentors, teachers, guides and inspiration sources
  • This blog is a good start
  • Check out the other great family blogs on my blog roll that we follow.  There is a family blog dedicated to every outdoor pursuit imaginable from climbing, to biking, to skiing.  (note that each blog we follow, also has links to blogs they follow, so you can easily gather a list of great blogs for your research and inspiration
  • Join outdoor groups.  Meet-up.com is a great place to start and if you are in Calgary, the Calgary Outdoor Recreation Association (CORA) has family hikes planned every couple months aimed at school aged kids.  The Mountain Mamas group in Calgary plans hikes in the summer aimed at baby wearing moms.  They have no current events planned but if you contact the organizer, Shannon, she loves meeting new moms and babies.
  • Join my facebook community page:  Calgary Family Adventure Community.  There's a link to the page on my blog.  (look for the facebook icon)  I am incidentally always looking for more families to hike, camp and share adventures with so send me a message if you have a toddler especially.
  • The Alpine Club of Canada is a great group to join.  The Calgary Section typically has at least one family trip each summer and winter.  There's a family ice climbing weekend coming up and non climbers are welcome as I am assured they will  be focusing on much more than just climbing.
  • Look for an outdoor playgroup in your area.  Play dates will most likely be in the daytime so working parents will be out of luck with this one, but if you are able to go, you'll meet many amazing parents with the same commitment to outdoor play.  I've started a group in Calgary that you can find on facebook at this link.  If you want to be added to my e-mail distribution list, send me a message.  If you are not in Calgary, check out the Active Kid's Club Website for a list of playgroups across Canada and the United States.
  • The Outdoor Baby Network is an amazing information sharing website and a great place to meet other cool families.  You can join local groups too that target specific destinations or sports.
    There's nothing more fun than a large group hike with good friends.

Family trip with the Alpine Club of Canada

Find good family guide books for your corner of the world
My personal favorites for Kananaskis and the Canadian Rockies are below.  They should be in the personal collection of every outdoor family living in this area.
    Just another day in paradise
Don't compete against other families
I can not stress how important this will be to your sanity.  As you start reading other blogs you will feel the pressure to "measure up" and to do the same cool things other families are doing.   I feel this when I hear about another toddler, the same age as my son, already downhill skiing, riding a bike with competence, doing big expeditions across the wilds of Alaska, or able to hike more than 5km.

It's hard not to struggle against the unspoken competition that exists between outdoor families.  Many parents are driven to have their kids grow up as fast as possible; how quickly can we get our child out of the child carrier or ski sled?  How young can we get our child on skis?  How soon can we get out kid on the chair lift and off the bunny hill?  I struggle often with the pressure to push my son because I know that the other kids are all doing "it"!  It referring to hiking, skiing, biking, etc. - by self, as my son says.  Meanwhile my three year old is quite content to ride or be carried.  He likes being a baby.  Over the last week I've come to the revelation that I'm ok with that actually.  A child only has precious few years to be a baby.  Why rush growing up?  He has a lifetime ahead of him to do everything "by self."  For now, we are enjoying the fact that we can go for a 12km ski, hike or scramble together as a whole family.  There is plenty of time for toddler paced adventures in our very near future.

Our big baby :)

Choose your focus
This is also key to your sanity as an outdoor family.  You can't do it all!  Not only is it expensive to decide that you are going to take up biking, hiking, skiing, paddling, climbing, etc., but it's also unrealistic.  If you are just getting into the outdoor scene, pick one summer sport and one winter sport.  We focus on hiking and xc skiing.   As an extension to our hiking or xc skiing, we also do a back packing trip once/summer or a ski tour into a back country hut or lodge.  That's it for us along with camping which serves as giving us a base camp for our hikes. 

We don't focus on biking, water sports or downhill skiing - at all!  And we don't stress about it.  We might take our son out for a downhill ski lesson this winter but it will be for the purpose of teaching him to be comfortable on skis.  We'll get him a bike this spring but it will be for city rambles.   Some day, I really want to try a family canoe or rafting trip.  However, it's not our focus!  As our son gets older we'll add to our focus areas because my husband and I both like scrambling and mountaineering.  My husband also likes climbing and I think it would make for fabulous father-son bonding.  For now, we keep it simple.

In my husband's words:  Have very specific goals about what you want to accomplish outdoors, and then tick off the list. You can't just vaguely say "we're going to spend lots of time outside this year" or you'll end up saying "too many things got in the way.

Hiking, our first and primary passion

Cross Country Skiing - our other passion
Start small
When is a good time to introduce hiking to your child?  Any time.  As soon as possible. 
Children that get used to spending lots of time outdoors will learn that that's just the way it is in their family.  They won't question why they are going to the mountains yet again (at least for a few years).
Hopefully, they'll even learn to like hiking. 

The key to introducing your child to hiking though (or any sport for that matter) is to start small.  Hike natural trails in your town or city and avoid the long drives.  You can work around naps and even go home for lunch or add a playground visit to your hike.  If the weather turns bad you can easily go home.  My son doesn't like pavement but he loves running down Nose Hill, one of our closest natural areas. 

Our family has also mastered the half day relaxed start.  We have  breakfast at home, play with toys, and get a very leisurely start to the day. We drive to the mountains while our son naps.  We have lunch there so we don't have to bother with packing one and then we go for a short hike or series of short jaunts.  We get home in time for dinner which if we were productive in the morning, is ready for us in the crockpot.  (or alternately, we say to heck with it, and go pick up a pizza)

There's a movement going on right now that encourages parents to make every day an outdoor playday
I think it's a brilliant way to introduce kids to the outdoors.  Start close to home as you explore your neighborhood paths, creeks, natural areas and parks.  You don't have to get out for epic hikes or adventures.  Your child can develop an appreciation for nature in their backyard. 

Just remember, no competition and no stress! 
  • Your child can still develop a love for nature even if they don't get outside every day, contrary to what I've read in other blogs.  (I didn't start hiking until I was 20)
  • Decide for yourself and your family what temperature you are comfortable getting outside in.  Some people are determined to get outside no matter the weather or temperature.  Good for them.  Doesn't have to be you.  It's not me.  Enough said.
  • Apparently 15 minutes a day is enough time outside for most kids.  Our family values exercise as much as getting outdoors so we usually go to the gym or an indoor playground if the weather only permits for 15 minutes outdoors.  That's us though.  Do what feels right for your family.

    Chariots are awesome for hiking with young toddlers or babies

Every child alive loves boardwalks and water - guaranteed successful hike!

Bring Grandma or Grandpa if you can.  They have more patience than most parents!

Take time to smell the flowers!

Kids LOVE rocks!

Any hike that leads to water will be successful

Bring a friend for happy hiking

Practice flexibility
Things happen and plans often need to change last minute either due to unexpected weather or a change in your child/children's temperament(s).  One of the best ways to salvage a day is to choose a destination that allows for multiple activities.  My best example is Kananaskis Village, close to Calgary.  There's a toboggan hill, skating pond, hockey rink, xc ski trails with a rental shop that even rents ski sleds for young tots, official snowshoe trails, playground, and a large fire-side room in the Delta Hotel if you need to warm up.  For Down hill ski enthusiasts, there's the Nakiska Ski Resort just up the road as well.  Pack the car prepared to play in the snow and choose what you'll do when you get out there. 

Banff is another great destination.  The Town of Banff has walking trails (both natural and paved), snowshoe trails, xc ski  trails, two outdoor skating rinks at the moment, a fabulous toboggan hill and numerous restaurants in which to warm up.  Our favorite is the Tim Horton's in the Bus Terminal.  We also like the St. James Gate Pub which accepts children, has high chairs and kids menus.  A big Amen for a family friendly pub!  If you like downhill skiing, Mt. Norquay has ski by the hour rates and fabulous programs for kids.

Lake Louise is the third one-stop destination I'd recommend.  Again, there are xc ski trails, hiking and snowshoe trails, a cleared area of the lake for skating, and the Banff Springs Hotel is a great place to go if you want to warm up.  If you like downhill skiing, there's the famous Lake Louise Ski Resort as well.  If you time it right in winter, you can even take in the Ice Magic Festival.  (Ice Magic link will take you to an awesome review written by Calgary Blogger, Melissa Vroon.

Day trip in Banff

Sledding at Kananaskis Village

XC skiing at Lake Louise

Live close to where you want to play
The best thing about our neighborhood is its proximity to the mountains.  We can get to Bragg Creek in half an hour.  Fifteen more minutes and we are at hiking trails in the foothills.  When I was growing up, it was at least an 8 hour drive to reach the mountains.  They've since created a road from my home town to reach the mountains more easily but it's still a good 4 hour drive.  Today, that would not fly in our family.  Living close to the mountains is a non negotiable for us. 

Our neighborhood also has access to great natural areas.  There's a ravine within a five minute walk from our front door.  The ravine features a creek running through it and will provide for hours of natural play when my son is older.  Kids ride their bikes through it, play in the creek, and build forts.  It's truly awesome to be so close to a wild natural area.  Within a ten to fifteen minute drive we have access to at least three other great natural areas too that I've fallen in love with since having a child.

Hiking in Calgary

Running down Nose Hill, right in our city

Choose one special day per week that you will set aside for family outdoor adventure
If that doesn't work for you to dedicate four days/month to outdoor pursuits, then set aside one or two days/month.  The key is protecting those days with the same passion you'd protect your child from a cougar ready to pounce on them.  Maybe a little extreme but you get my point.  If you don't mark time off on your calendar for outdoor adventure, it honestly won't happen.  This is in addition to the "every day play" that you will hopefully try to fit in. 

Our family religiously sets Saturday aside as a Sabbath Day.  The idea is to do nothing that has to be done.  The day is devoted 100% to play and family time; almost always in the mountains.  There are exceptions of course; birthday parties we want to attend, family obligations, occasional girl's weekends away or a ski trip for my husband.  For the most part though, Saturday is our day to bond as a family and if you've ever invited us to an event on a Saturday, you know that we are usually out playing. 

I must add that it's important the whole family agrees on the day(s) you set apart for outdoor adventure.  If you honestly can't get your spouse interested in hiking, consider starting a mom's hiking group either mid week or on the weekend.  Alternately, practice good communication with your spouse and try to get to the root of why he/she isn't interested.  Maybe your spouse will warm up to outdoor adventure if you start slow (don't start off with a week-long camping trip) or start with something simple once a month.  Also ask your spouse what kind of outdoor sports they would be interested in.  Maybe hiking isn't their thing but they like fishing.  We have friends who are big into off-road motor biking and they go away for weekend camping trips with other biking enthusiasts.  The kids all run around together and have a blast I'm sure.

Mom and Tot day hike
Everybody's happy!

Make it fun
  • It has to be fun for the whole family so ask each member of the family what would help them to enjoy an outdoor adventure.  Maybe your kids don't like hiking but would be interested in trying climbing in the evening once a week so their weekend is still set aside for free play at home.  Maybe mom can be convinced to go if there's a coffee stop on the hike (possible if you go to Kananaskis Village).  Bribe the kids with candy or ice-cream (again easy if you hike around Kananaskis Village).  Take Dad to a family friendly pub at the end of the day.  Whatever it takes.
  • Go with other families.  Kids have more fun when they are chasing their friends along the trail, camping with other kids, or trying to out-race their best friend.
  • Again, short drives folks!  If you want to go to Lake Louise, stay overnight in a family room at the Lake Louise hostel or rent the family cabin at the Mosquito Creek Hostel.  (check out my story on our weekend at Mosquito Creek).  Even consider staying at the Delta Kananaskis or the Kananaskis Hostel which has three private rooms.
  • Add something special to the trip.  Think hotsprings, a ride in a gondola, eating out at a restaurant, etc.
  • Allow for lots of free playtime!!  Do a short hike up to an alpine meadow and let the kids run free.
  • Try different sports and activities until you find something the whole family likes.  If it's not possible, consider dividing once a month for a girl's trip and a guy's trip.  Mom and daughter can go hiking while Dad and son go climbing or fishing for example.
    Overnight trip at Mosquito Creek

Camping with friends

Backpacking with friends is especially easier than going solo

What would you add to my list of suggestions?  What do you find makes it easier to get outside as a family?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Choosing to snowshoe

Once again, our family was out xc skiing on the weekend and encountered several people hiking on groomed, track-set ski trails in Banff.   If  you read my last blog post, Choosing to ski, you'll know that we personally prefer skiing to snowshoeing or winter hiking.  I like to explore the uniqueness of each season and I can hike the other three seasons of the year.  Therefore, we devote the fourth season to skiing.  Our preferences aside though, I think there is great value in winter hiking, and snowshoeing is a fabulous sport for those that enjoy exploring at a slower pace.  However, I'm starting to think that many tourists and locals alike just don't know where to go in the mountains for great winter hiking.  There are so many wonderful trails and many of them are not only easy, but they are also family-friendly and pose little to no avalanche risk. 

Snowshoeing around Elbow Lake, Kananaskis
If you are debating whether to take up skiing or snowshoeing as a family, I already listed the advantages for skiing in my last story, choosing to ski.  Here are the top reasons I would choose to snowshoe:

It's very easy on the budget for a whole family to get into snowshoeing.  You can easily buy snowshoes second hand and you likely won't need lessons.  There are no lift or trail fees.  The only additional cost you'll need in addition to your snowshoes is gas.  If you choose trails that are well packed down you won't even need snowshoes.

You also don't need to buy a pricey ski sled or Chariot to pull young children.  Child carriers that you likely already use for hiking will work in the winter as well.  The challenge will be keeping small hands and feet warm while dangling in a pack.  I am no expert on winter hiking with an infant or small toddler but check out the other blogs on my blog roll if you want to know what other baby wearing moms and dads are using.  If you are one of those baby wearing parents, please leave a comment on this blog with your recommendations. 

Snowshoeing around Upper Kananaskis Lake

Low learning curve
As mentioned above, you don't need to invest in lessons and kids as young as 2 or 3 can learn to snowshoe or at least hike on hard packed trails.

Learning to snow shoe at 2 and a half  (Suzi Smart Photography)

Length of season
Snowshoeing season starts late November and goes all the way into April.  Sometimes you can still ski in April but the trails aren't very good by then.  We often don't even start snowshoeing in fact until April when we've had our fill of skiing and want to get a head start on spring hiking.  Many trails are so hard packed in April that you won't need snowshoes either.  Cleats or yak trax suffice in most places.  Most of the photos featured in this story were either taken early or late season when it's warmer out and very pleasant snowshoe weather with small kids.

Spring hiking on the Prairie View Trail, Kananaskis

Finally, there are some places that just aren't accessible on skis.  Narrow trails, tight trees and sharp corners are not something a skier looks for on their outings.  Many beautiful places are best accessed on snowshoes.  (why we have both skis and snowshoes)  If you are a novice skier or prefer groomed track-set trails, you'll also prefer snowshoeing in to many places that would be considered a ski touring destination.  The majority of xc skiers prefer to stick to the official ski trails and leave the natural trails to snowshoers.

The Boom Lake Trail in Banff (very popular ski tour or snowshoe)

I'll break the Rockies down by area below with my picks for best winter hikes and snowshoe trips. I'm also going to quickly explain the difference between winter hiking and snowshoeing so that you can choose the trail that is best for your family.

Hiking trails are those that will most likely be packed down and that you should be able to do without snowshoes.  Cleats or yak trax might be necessary in icy conditions but snowshoes would normally be overkill for these popular hard packed trails.  These trails are awesome for young children that can't wade through deep snow yet and need a more solid surface.

Snowshoe trails are those that have enough snow to warrant bringing your snowshoes.  Without the snowshoes you would be sinking, post-holing, and wading through deep snow drifts.  If you aren't interested in trail breaking, choose trails that are labeled as official snowshoe trails.  These trails are so popular that you can often hike them in just your winter boots.  You certainly won't be expending much effort wading through the snow because the trail will be well packed down.  Again, these trails are good for small kids who need a firmer surface.

Bragg Creek and the Elbow Valley, Kananaskis
This area usually doesn't have enough snow to warrant snowshoe use.  Great for hiking. 
  • Allen Bill Pond Day use area, Fullerton Loop and trails along the Elbow River
  • The Riverview Trail at Paddy's Flats
  • West Bragg Creek official snowshoe trails (look for snowshoe signs and please stay off the official signed ski trails) 
Hiking at the Allen Bill Day use area
Riverview Trail

Kananaskis Village, Ribbon Creek and the Kananaskis Valley
This area usually doesn't have enough snow to warrant snowshoe use.  Great for hiking and awesome for families.  The Village has a skating rink, hockey rink, toboggan hill, cafe and restaurants. 
Learning to snowshoe on the Hay Meadows Trail  (Suzi Smart Photography)

Troll Falls
 Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and and Highwood Pass, Kananaskis
Great snowshoe trails and you can now stay off the ski trails because as you see, there are lots of other options!
    Elbow Pass Trail late November
Lower Lake snowshoe trail

Elk Pass  Trail
Spray Lakes Valley, Kananaskis
Fabulous trails that will definitely warrant bringing the snowshoes
Rummel Lake

Bow Valley and Canmore
These trails don't see enough snow for snowshoeing but make for great winter hikes.
  • Trails in Bow Valley Provincial Park (park at Middle Lake when the campground is closed)
  • Grotto Canyon (bring cleats or yak trax for walking through the canyon)
  • Jura Creek (bring cleats or yak trax and hike right through the canyon when the water is frozen)
  • Canmore town trails (my favorite is the riverside trail that goes from downtown to the Three Sister's Resort)

Hiking through the Jura Creek Canyon

Banff townsite and Lake Minewanka
The trails in the town of Banff don't get enough snow for snowshoeing but are great for winter hiking and close to the amenities of town.  Trails on the Norquay Road or Lake Minewanka Road will probably have enough snow for snowshoeing.
Fenland Trail in November
Sundance Canyon in November

On top of Tunnel Mountain in November

Other great snowshoeing trails in Banff National Park
Lake Louise and The Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park
Snowshoes are usually necessary for all trails in this area unless it's late Spring and you are hiking around Lake Louise on hard packed snow.
    Lake Louise Shoreline Trail
Snowshoeing into Skoki Lodge
Yoho National Park
Great snowshoe trails can be found in this park.
Emerald Lake

Kootenay National Park
More great snowshoe trails can be found in this park.
Marble Canyon

Here are some great links for additional reading with interesting stories and photos on snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Choosing to ski

Our family only does a handful of winter hikes and snowshoe trips per year, much preferring to explore trails on skis.  That being said, I'm starting to realize that snowshoeing might actually be surpassing skiing in popularity right now.  Every trail I set out on is full of snowshoers.  Last weekend in fact, we skied up to Boom Lake, a place I'd only ever seen skiers before, and encountered a good 25+ snowshoers on the trail.  I keep checking my meet-up groups as well, looking for ski trips to join, only to discover that the posted trips are predominately aimed at snowshoeing or winter hiking. 

I know that the sports of downhill skiing and backcountry skiing are still alive because thrill seekers will always be seeking out fresh powder for turns.  I've also seen plenty of evidence that classic xc skiing on groomed and track-set trails continues to be popular though perhaps with an older generation.   What appears to be fading in popularity is the kind of skiing I most like which is light ski touring.  Light ski touring is similar to xc skiing except that the trails aren't groomed or track-set.  Most people use modified skis equipped with metal edges that are slightly wider than the classic xc ski.  These skis can be fitted with climbing skins for steeper hills and are perfectly suitable for many hiking trails in the Rockies.  Many people also use AT skis or telemark skis for more moderate ski tours or if they want to do turns.  My definition of ski touring however, does not involve turns or venturing into avalanche terrain. Popular ski tours in the Rockies are the Boom Lake trail in Banff, the Goat Creek Traverse from Canmore to Banff, and the Chester Lake trail in Kananaskis.

Skiing the Boom Lake Trail with our son in a pulk
On our way in to Chester Lake with our son in a Chariot
Both groomed and natural trails are starting to see an increase in snowshoe traffic.  The benefit of skiing these trails rather than snowshoeing them though is that you get to ski down the hills rather than walk both up and down.  You can also get farther in a day since skiing the downhill sections will reduce your time by half.  A good example is the Elk Pass trail in Kananaskis.  It is a 12km return trip on either a designated snowshoe trail or a groomed ski trail.  According to the Hike Alberta website, it takes 2-4 hours to get to Elk Pass and back on snowshoes.  On skis the same trip would take 2.5 hours at most.  A skier can easily do 20km on groomed trails at a moderate pace in 3 hours. 

Scenery along the Elk Pass Trail

One other advantage of skiing is that you can easily make the journey into several back-country cabins that would be a boring slog on snowshoes.  The Alpine Club of Canada's Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O'Hara is the best example here.  It is 11km to the hut on a wide snow packed road that although a bit of an uphill trudge on skis, is tolerable because you know you are going to have an amazing run back down to the car.  It's never so steep that you have to have any technical backcountry skills but it's just steep enough to allow for a lot of double polling and easy gliding.  On snowshoes, the same trail would take the same amount of time to go down and you'd essentially be hiking up and down an 11km road.  Not fun in my opinion.  If I'm going to go snowshoeing, I'm going to look for a beautiful hiking trail covered in powder rather than walking on a hard packed road.

The Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O'Hara
Now before you come to the conclusion that I disapprove of the sport of snowshoeing or that I think it's boring, I have to say that I find snowshoeing to be quite enjoyable.  One of my favorite trips so far this winter was a snowshoe trip we did late November up to Elbow Lake before the highway to Highwood Pass closed for the winter.   However, you have to know when to snowshoe and when to ski.  There are many trails that should never see snowshoes.  There are also other trails I would never travel on xc skis because honestly I'm not an accomplished enough backcountry skier.  Even true backcountry skiers would not take skis on trails if they were too steep or narrow for making safe turns and would opt to travel by snowshoes.

Snowshoeing at Elbow Lake with our son in a carrier

Below are my own personal guidelines when making the decision to ski or snowshoe.

Any groomed and track-set trail should be left to the skiers that the trail is intended for. 

It is actually dangerous for skiers coming down should they catch an edge on a snowshoe track.  There is also a good potential for collisions if a large group of snowshoers should be coming up a trail and not be able to get out of the way fast enough to avoid a downhill skier. 

Popular trails to ski and avoid on snowshoes:
Friends skiing with their son on an official ski trail in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

Skiing with our kids on the Great Divide ski trail, at Lake Louise

Hard packed trails do not need snowshoes.  We use ice cleats or yak trax if we are concerned about slipping.  Snowshoes are designed for powder.

Popular trails to hike:
  • Most of the trails around the townsite of Banff including the Sundance Canyon Trail
  • Most official snowshoe trails (These trails are great for beginner snowshoers and families with small children.  However, they are usually well packed down rendering snowshoes unnecessary.  Leave your snowshoes in the car if there is no fresh powder or strap them to your backpack and set out on foot)
  • The trails around Ribbon Creek and Kananaskis Village.  (If you want to visit Troll Falls, you should be able to just walk.  I've never seen enough fresh snow on the these trails that you'd need snowshoes.  They only add extra weight to your feet.  If you want to burn more calories, go ahead with the snowshoes.  Otherwise, leave them in the car.)
    Lake Agnes, Lake Louise in spring and the trail was so hard you could have worn running shoes. 
    Hiking to Troll Falls when our son was a baby.  No shoeshoes necessary.

    Toddlers and babies will stay much warmer in a Chariot or Ski Pulk so unless it's a warm spring day, we choose to ski rather than snowshoe with our son in a child carrier.

    Our trip to Elbow Lake last November was our first and last snowshoe trip with our son this winter.  We found it impossible to keep him warm enough in a child carrier.  His dangling feet and hands got cold, we couldn't wrap him in blankets, and there was no protection against the wind.  We've gone skiing though when it was as cold as -25C with wind chill and our son has always been toasty warm in either his Chariot or Pulk.  

    Toasty warm in his pulk

    Sleeping in his Chariot last winter - not covered but still snug as a bug

    Watch for my next blog post:  Choosing to snowshoe
    My next story will specifically target family-friendly trails that are safe, short to moderate in length, scenic, and fun. I'll introduce you to my favorite trails that are perfect for snowshoeing and focus on the times it's better to snowshoe than to ski.