John came over today, to try his feet at snowshoeing. Something he's never had the opportunity to enjoy before. I think we made a convert.
Wisely, he carries with him his Spirit Walking Stick. Which proved useful when I found myself 'skiing' out of control down Devil's Drop and into the snowbank. Where the snow, we point out, was up to the top of the black section of the stick he carries. I was stuck, and glad to borrow this stick to help pry myself out!
At least it was soft, that snowbank!
We had gone, not just to let John enjoy a day on 'shoes, but to see if we could find any trace of our local wolf pack. Brian had recommended I check out the very top of Hemlock Ridge trail, so that's where we aimed.
Now, when John told his Dad we were going to look for the wolf pack, his Dad quite sensibly asked what the plan was should we find them. Again, I suggested that his trusty walking stick would stand us in good stead. He didn't look convinced...
The Old Salts Canoe Club is staying with us this week, and they have been getting a lot of enjoyment out of skiing and snowshoeing the trails, but they had the sense to avoid Devil's Drop (which, as Brian's signpost says, "Only the skilled or foolish go here" It is super steep)
On the way to the drop, nobody had been through the tail before we arrived.Gracious! You can see where the groomer has been through, setting track, but overlaying that it looked like a superhighway! Deer tracks everywhere. They love the thick hemlock grove that provides food and shelter, and offers a high vantage point in all directions, so that's no surprise.
And yes, we also found wolf tracks. Apparently everyone is enjoying the use of the trails through this deep snow! They were about a day old, not that we were concerned about meeting them. In fact, seeing them would be a real thrill!
Tracks aren't the only things to check out in the woods. This lovely frozen waterfall decorated some of the granite cliffs we passed.
And Taffy was kept busy checking out the tracks, trails and scents left behind. When she got off the packed trails, she soon discovered why the deer and wolves prefer to stick to the groomed routes!
A thin and watery sun did its best to shine. In the woods, you are protected from the wind, and it is just delightful to be outside.
You do need to dress in layers for the conditions though. And, like this stump, in winter you should always wear a hat.
Proper footwear is also essential if you are going to be a happy part of the Great Outdoors. Being a poodle, Taffy's woolly coat causes snow to ball up and stick. That can be very uncomfortable between your toes, so her boots are not for fashion, but for function.
She couldn't resist sticking her nose into all sorts of places. There is nothing better than a ramble in the woods in her opinion. We were out for just over an hour, and covered almost three and a quarter miles of up and down and all around. Waaaaayyyyy better than a workout in the gym!