Trail Talk 97 December 18th 2019

The forecast for the coming winter is for a mild one which may mean that we will have a lot of lake effect snow, which will make hiking easier with skis or snowshoes.

I took the photo of some Voyageur trail snowshoers in 1999 – this shows a good variety of types of snowshoes. When choosing snow shoes there are four main things to consider. The type, the pivot type, the size and the fasteners.  The traditional style is made of wood and has rawhide lacing.

The shape can be a tear drop of a more circular bear paw shape.  The bear paw style is more maneuverable in tight spaces but many people find it more difficult as your feet must be further apart.     The modern showshoe is usually an oval shape (like the one on the right in the photo).   A wooden one with a plastic centre (usually green) is also commonly available. (see third from the left in the photo.  The white ones near the centre are made of aluminum with aluminum wire lacing.  The biggest advantage of the modern oval snowshoe is that the claws make it the easiest for climbing up steep hills. One disadvantage is that the claws can get clogged up with snow in conditions close to freezing.  The wood frame with plastic centre, are probably the worst for

Tubbs Yanes and Winter Hikers

climbing hills.  The size is most important if you plan on long excursions in deep snow, a small snowshoe will sink down lower in the snow forcing you to lift your leg higher for the next step, however this is not usually important on short hikes.

Most cheaper snow shoes have a strap for a pivot, instead of a metal bar.  The ones with a strap result in more snow being kicked up and landing on the snowshoe building up under your heel.  This is not a big problem on shorter outings but can result in frequent stops to clear the buildup.

The fastening is however important, particularly if it is cold and you have to refasten or adjust them. You should also consider how well the strap stays on the heel of your boot.

The photo shows the three makes I have. Tubbs have the best reliability and the heal fastener on newer models is better than the one on this older one in the photo. I recommend you to check out how easy it is to fasten the bindings before a purchase is made.   A good source for more information is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowshoe.

Although many trails are suitable for snowshoeing there is a problem on places with steps (such as the ones on the Maitland Trail

Canada Geese at Morrison Dam

near 8 km at Jenkins) which are difficult or impossible on snowshoes, which then have to be removed or an alternative route found.

Our Friday hike was on the Exeter trails, where we saw some recent beaver activity and many

Beaver Trail

geese were on the Morrison Dam waters, some stay in our area to at least early January, and may stay all winter if it is mild.

UPCOMING HIKES etc.Oct 1 –Dec 31 the Maitland Trail section from 9.4 to 10.5 km is closed.

Thursday December 26th  9 a.m. Boxing Day hike or snow shoe depending on conditions, on    the Lobb trail. About 1 ½ hours moderate pace. This trail is usually groomed and is fairly flat except for one big hill    Contact Patrick Capper pcapper99@gmail.com Phone 519-606-0016

Wednesday January 1st 2 p.m. Falls Reserve.   Level 1, Medium pace, 1-1½ hours

Start off the New Year right (actively), clear your head and wear off some of the holiday’s excess munching by joining us to snowshoe/hike at the Falls Reserve Conservation Area in Benmiller. Dress in layers, according to the weather’s demands. Meet and park at the Falls Reserve Gate. (Free if you put your MTA membership card on your car’s dashboard.) Please let us know you are coming: Wendy Hoernig, 519- 525-6976
MID WEEK  HIKES

The Tuesday Trompers walk for about an hour at a moderate to slow pace starting at  9 a.m. Contact Al Sanders at allan.sanders@hurontel.on.ca

The Uneven Hikers meet on Wednesday or Thursday. Hikes start at 9 a.m. for 1 ½ to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. We hike only on the odd dates. e.g Wednesday Dec11th and Thursday Dec19th.   Contact pcapper99@gmail.com

The Friday L.I.F.E. hikers usually meet at 8:10 at the Betty Cardno Centre in Clinton  and hike for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours, one group at a moderate the other group at a moderately fast pace. Contact cphillips@onecaresupport.ca

If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at pcapper99@gmail.com.