Snowshoes or microspikes?
Mid-January we were blanketed with freezing rain, which made me rethink my plans for my afternoon outing. Thinking the conditions would be a bit icy and maybe even bare spots I loaded my skis, snowshoes, and microspikes into my vehicle. The Tupper Lake Groomed XC Ski Center was the destination. I knew volunteers had been hard at work getting the trails ready for their full-moon bonfire party (which had taken place the previous night) so with that in mind, I headed to the red gate entrance, which is only a short distance to the fire pit.
Snowshoes or microspikes?
Once I took a look at the trails, I knew either microspikes or snowshoes were my options, as my skis do not have edges. I chose the snowshoes simply because although I purchased them secondhand a couple of years ago, I had not used them yet. When I was a kid I used wooden snowshoes and recall always having binding trouble. You can still purchase those beautiful wooden snowshoes and I imagine the bindings have come a long way, but the aluminum snowshoes have crampons, are lighter, and cost less. Mircospikes run about $70, I have used mine a few times when hiking some small mountains, they have great crampons! I even used them when snow blowing my driveway when there was sheer ice under the snow!
A new trail!
For this adventure I was meeting my friends Donna and Lorraine, and they soon arrived along with Lorraine’s four legged companion, Cedar. Dogs are welcome on the trails, and I normally see at least one on every outing. Donna and Lorraine were equipped with microspikes. While chatting we registered at the sign-in booth and Lorraine asked if I had ever walked the Hull's Brook Trail — she mentioned it was a more difficult trail for skiers, but that it was a beautiful trail.
Hull's Brook Trail - most difficult!
I did recall that Tupper Lake Groomed XC Trails FB page stated that those that were on snowshoes could ignore the closed signs on the Hull’s Brook Trail. The trail began with three downhills, which of course meant there were uphills as well. On snowshoes it was not difficult, but I could see where it would be a more challenging trail on skis. On this trail you come close to the Tupper Lake Golf Course, it follows the brook and loops back on to the main trail. We read that walkers would be in for a real treat, and that was no joke! This is a beautiful trail!
The crampons on my snowshoes would bite into the icy areas, which was great as I remained upright! I can't wait until we get more snow and this trail opens to skiers — it will be a workout, but fun! Once back on the main trail there was enough snow for skiers, however, there were a few patches of ice and bare spots which one would have to avoid.
We headed to the fire pit first just because it is a beautiful spot and I had not been that way in awhile. Once there I wished I had attended the bonfire on the previous night, and I made a mental note to mark the next one on my calendar. As we headed to the Cranberry Pond Loop we met Wayne, who was on his cross-country skis. He had gone to the fire pit as well and then had crossed the pond. (Note: the trail does not take you across the pond). Although you can get some great photos while out on the pond, we elected to continue on our route.
When I cross-country ski I normally take the Little Logger Loop up to the former Big Tupper Ski Area, but today we continued on the shorter Cranberry Pond Loop. The snow was adequate for skiers, but I was happy to be on my snowshoes on such a beautiful day!
More winter fun!
When I was working I felt like there weren't enough hours on my days off and that winter was too short. I wanted to partake in downhill and cross-country skiing, skating and snowshoeing, and using microspikes. I retired in April of 2015. Now, in January 2017, I have finally been on my ice skates and my snowshoes. In the Adirondacks we really do have a winter wonderland, but when the rain and freezing rain hits us there is ice. If you encounter some of that nasty precipitation, no worries! Snowshoes or microspikes will enable you get out and enjoy some beautiful wilderness areas even when it's a bit too icy to ski. A little exercise will not only make you feel great, it will actually energize you, make you happier and burn calories! Be sure to check out the conditions and trails on for the Tupper Lake Groomed Trails. There are plenty of cross-county ski/snowshoeing trails in the Tupper Lake Region - come discover .