Dawn Daling, left, and her niece Hannah Byrne snowshoe through Meadowville in Scotsburn on Sunday. While some revile the unseasonably cold weather, it’s been a boon to outdoor enthusiasts looking to make tracks. LORI BYRNE
While last week’s winter wallop may have given you case of cabin fever, fear not. Ideal weather for snowshoeing may be just what the doctor ordered.
Hike Nova Scotia, in their ‘Hibernating Is for Bears’ campaign, is urging Nova Scotians to get outside this winter. And they’re offering 35 guided winter snowshoe hikes to get you started.
“Snowshoeing is seeing a real surge in popularity these last few years,” said Janet Barlow of Hike Nova Scotia. “And our snowier than normal winter – if it continues – is certainly going to spur more people to try snowshoeing.”
Hike Nova Scotia and 11 partner groups have organized the events between Jan. 11 and March 16 across the province.
“We’re hoping that our Hibernating Is for Bears contest, in addition to the guided hikes, will encourage folks to get out onto the trails rather than be cooped up inside all winter long,” Barlow said.
The contest invites people to take photos of themselves hiking, walking or snowshoeing and then share them with Hike NS by email, Facebook and Twitter. The contest runs from Jan. 11 to Feb. 11 and participants could win a prize package valued at $100.
The hikes are meant to help get more people outside in winter and being active in the provinces trails. The events are led by locals in the South Shore, Annapolis Valley, Antigonish County, Cape Breton and Pictou County.
Rae Gunn, co-ordinator of Active Pictou County, noted that while there’s no formal connection between Hike Nova Scotia and Active Pictou County, helping each other is mutually beneficial.
“Part of our goal is to promote events happening in the county,” said Gunn. “We’re happy to work with Hike Nova Scotia for the two planned hikes in the county.”
One will take place on Juniper Head, Dalhousie Mountain, on Jan. 25 and the other, Cape to Cape: Millsville to Scotsburn, will take place in Millsville on Feb 2.
The latter snowshoe hike will coincide with the Scotsburn Winter Carnival as it has in previous years.
Like Barlow, Gunn said she believes snowshoeing has become more popular as a pastime in recent years with some schools now investing in snowshoes.
“I think it’s growing and whereas people used to do it out of necessity, they’re seeing it as a way to stay healthy,” she said. “Combined with the inconsistency of winter weather, you may not have snow for cross country skiing so snowshoes are more versatile.”
She sees snowshoeing as a family activity for varying skill levels that can open up hard to reach areas.
You’ll see all types of snowshoes, people snowshoeing with poles and different ages and experience,” said Gunn. “There’s a wide range but hike leaders gauge the ability of the group and plan the excursions accordingly.”
If you do go, you may not want to be a trailblazer, that is, be at the front of the back.
“If the snow is deep, being in front can be a little exhausting since you’re breaking trail,” said Gunn. “If you’re at the back it’s fine.”
Those interested in taking part in the two snowshoeing events should contact event organizers or visit their websites for more information.
Active Pictou County aims to educate and motivate all citizens to increase their daily physical activity in an effort to create a happier, healthier and active community.
Hike Nova Scotia encourages and promotes hiking, walking and snowshoeing throughout Nova Scotia. Membership keeps you to keep up-to-date on the latest hiking news and allows you to have a say in Hike Nova Scotia projects.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn
If the snowshoe fits:
Juniper Head Trail Snowshoe event, Dalhousie Mountain
Jan. 25. Registration at 10:30 a.m. Event at 11 a.m.
The Juniper Head Trail is located off Glen Road in Dalhousie Mountain in Pictou County. Cobequid Eco-Trails Society, Sheila Wilson email@example.com,
Cape to Cape: Millsville to Scotsburn, Millsville.
Feb. 2. Pre-registration is required, hike begins at 1 p.m.
Detailed directions will be sent to those who request them. Request snowshoes upon registering if you need them. This is a snowshoe/hike on the Cape to Cape Trail section from Millsville to Scotsburn. The hike is approximately 8 km and will take three hours.
Cape to Cape Committee of Pictou County Trails Association (924-2910 or firstname.lastname@example.org) in partnership with Scotsburn Recreation Fran Wyman email@example.com, www.capetocapetrail.ca