Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snowshoeing - Featherstonhaugh State Forest

Having messed up my back a couple of days ago (a little too much zeal on the disc golf course), I cancelled out of a pretty serious winter hike today. But by noon, I was feeling a little improved, and wanted to get out and enjoy the new fallen snow.

Since I'm scheduled to lead a moonlight snowshoe walk later this week as the moon approaches full, and since this was our first measurable snowfall in weeks, it seemed like a good idea to check out Featherstonhaugh State Forest and see if this trip can actually come off. This forest has been logged for the past two years, and the trails have been disturbed quite a bit by that activity, so I needed to be sure.

I parked at "A" on the map below, and walked A-B-E-C-D-E-B-A, basically a clockwise loop.

From "A" to "B" is a marked ski trail that provides access to the main ski loop within the forest. Unfortunately, this section had not been cleaned up after the logging (as it was supposed to have been), and will not be skiable without about 2 feet of snow. It wasn't much fun on snowshoes either.

From "B" to "E" to "C" is part of the main ski loop, and it was in surprisingly good shape, though the snow was still a little thin for skiing, and barely enough for snowshoeing. Interestingly, when I got to "B", I did not see any markers for the other side of the ski loop, heading west from there.

The snowmobile trail, from "C" to "D", was in great shape, presumably because of annual maintenance done by the local snowmobile club. From "D" to "E" is the main skid road that the logging operation created and used, and it's also in pretty good shape.

If we don't lose any snow between now and the right night for the moon walk, I think a D-E-C-D loop would be OK on snowshoes. More snow would even be better, and we may get some on Tuesday night and Wednesday. See the listing at the link above if you'd like to sign up.

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