by Barbara Walvoord
(First published in Lathrop Lamp Post Dec. 29, 2016.)
Lathrop’s snowy woods are “lovely, dark, and deep,” in the words of Robert Frost. Our brooks are stunningly beautiful, with icy rime along the water. In our meadows, juncos and blue birds flutter among the underbrush. A winter walk can exercise your heart and also fill it with joy. Trail maps for both campuses are at https://lathropland.wordpress.com/.
But how to get out there, when we’re not as steady on our feet as we used to be?
Sharon and I use cleats and snowshoes to help us walk on Lathrop’s land all winter.
For icy trails, buy cleats (one brand is called “Yaktrax”)) at the local hardware store or online. When you come to the trail, slip them over the bottoms of your boots. Use walking poles, too. Some crampons have only wimply little spikes; we get the serious kind.
Writing about snowshoeing for seniors, Parade Magazine‘s Michael O’Shea reassures us that “If you can put one foot in front of the other you can snowshoe. The shoes no longer look like tennis rackets and are quite compact (streamlined and lighter weight).” http://lmb.typepad.com/smart_senior/2006/12/snowshoeing_for.html
When you first purchase your snowshoes, you adjust the straps to fit your boot, and after that, you just slide your boots into the snowshoes, click the strap harness over them, and you’re ready to go. http://sectionhiker.com/snowshoeing-for-beginners-guide/
All Out Adventures, a non-profit based in Easthampton, offers guided snowshoe outings for seniors throughout the winter. They provide the snowshoes, poles, and instruction for beginners. (http://www.alloutadventures.org/).