by Kate Samp
With all the snowfall already this year, it‚Äôs a wonder I haven‚Äôt seen snowshoes easing people‚Äôs weekday commute. Snowshoeing is an easy sport to pick up‚Äîjust head to a Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) park, strap on your shoes, and muck around. You can burn up to 500-600 calories per hour just trekking around in deep snow. You work all your muscle groups for extended periods of time just by walking around and can fine tune your hand-eye coordination with an impromptu snowball fight!
On January 29, 17 Boston University Outing Club (BUOC) members and I embarked upon a four mile snowshoeing trek through Middlesex Fells Reservation, a 2,575 acre park that crosses Malden, Medford, Stoneham, Melrose, and Winchester. Arriving at the Oak Grove T stop on the Orange Line and equipped with a Boston Day Hikes Guidebook, we stepped onto the white marked path to Pinnacle Rock, which features stunning views of Boston.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve always wanted to go on adventures, but living in Queens‚Äîmy friends just weren‚Äôt interested,‚Äù said first time outing club participant, Josh Rivera.
BUOC is the go to campus group for BU students to get outside and out of the city for the weekend, or even just for the day. Some of our recent adventures include backpacking trips to the White Mountains and kayaking on the Charles River. Day trips like this one can be geared toward the first time outdoors enthusiast or adapted to more experienced hikers.
‚ÄúPeople think that you glide on top of the snow with snow shoes. But that‚Äôs just not the case,‚Äù said Julian Barthold, BUOC vice president. Julian said snow shoes keep you from sinking waist deep into the snow and help you maneuver over icy terrain. Equipped with crampons, or metal spikes, the shoes give you better traction control.
It‚Äôs easy to forget you are wearing the shoes, and even easier to trip over your own feet if you aren‚Äôt careful. We ended our day‚Äôs hike with a trek to Cascade Falls. Snowshoes are not ideal for climbing icy slopes, but can work in a pinch on moderate inclines. Needless to say, we did more sliding than snowshoeing at the falls.
Interested in trying snowshoeing, but don‚Äôt know where to start? DCR and REI are co-sponsoring a free snowshoeing event in Weymouth on February 24. This two hour, Thursday morning excursion, teaches effective walking techniques to you and your friends or family while you hike around Webb State Park. If you need equipment, visit local outdoor gear shops for snowshoe rentals.
Make your way to our outdoor event Google calendar for more details or find out about other upcoming winter outdoor events.