Monday, December 19, 2016

Excellent Snowshoeing Weather


This week signals the official start of winter, as if you needed a calendar to figure that out.  It's been a blustery start to the snow season.  If you weren't grappling with trying to get the snowblower or car working properly, consider yourself lucky.  The temps are going to climb for the rest of the week and with about a foot of snow in the Milwaukee parks, this is a great time to try snowshoeing. With such a great base, you could go just about anywhere in any park.  Pick your scenery- riverfront, lake Michigan, one of the river parkways, or a nice wooded area.  Here's the county page of parks with maps.

If you don't own snowshoes yet, it's no problem.  Havenwoods State Forest lets you use them for free.  It's a good way to see if it's something you enjoy.  You can get them in the nature center during normal hours.
Even kids have fun snowshoeing at Havenwoods

This is also a great time to join the Urban Ecology Center where members can use snowshoes, as well as sleds, skates, saucers, and much more from their lending closet at no additional cost. You can reserve snowshoes in advance. With three different locations, you are bound to find a place you enjoy.

Because we normally don't have so much snow this early, you won't find the guided hikes at Schlitz Audubon beginning until next year.  Check the calendar for events to see when they are offered.  You can bring your own snowshoes anytime as long as you are a member or pay the daily admission rate of $8 per adult.. If there's a guided snowshoe hike, they normally have snowshoes available. This is a good way to experience nature. Normally the volunteers know a great deal about animals, plants, and the lake and share their stories with the group. Afterwards, step inside and warm yourself by the fireplace and enjoy a hot cocoa.
Enjoy the lake views at Schlitz. 

Whitnall Park has a warming house with a rental kiosk where you can get skis or snowshoes.  Cost is $15 for the day or $20 for 24 hours. If you really want to go crazy, rent them for an entire week for $50. There's a fireplace and snacks for sale inside.

Wehr Nature Center holds winter events that include snowshoeing.  You can always pick up the rented snowshoes at Whitnall and use the trails at Wehr, if you pay for parking.

If you want to make a trip elsewhere in the state and bring your snowshoes, you might find an unexplored place on this list put out by Midwest Weekends.  Also be sure to follow the weekly list of events in the local Milwaukee County Parks. You'll find all kinds of opportunities to get outside, meet people, and try new things.

The Yeti Dash has become an annual event which includes a snowshoeing "race" with a 5K and 3K. It happens February 4, 2017. Get in shape now and you can participate.

If you ever participated in the outdoor club with Clearwater Outdoor, you might have gone snowshoeing.  Unfortunately the Milwaukee store is closed, but you can join a group at Delafield every Saturday.

And if you feel you really know what you're doing, join one of the candlelight hikes in the parks.  Lapham Peak is a great place to go for an organized snowshoe hike. The friends of Lapham Peak have a page full of activities.  There are rentals available near Lapham Peak, done by Wheel & Sprocket.  Hours: T W Th 4:00 -9:00 pm
Sat. 9:00 am-9:00 pm
Sun. 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Call the Delafield store for more information 262-646-6300
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