Tips on Hiking in Deep Snow
Hiking through deep snow, especially in remote locations where trails haven’t been packed down, is a great workout, but it can be frustrating. Here are a few things to consider before hitting the trails after heavy snowfall:
If you wear snowshoes, you won't sink down quite as far as you would if you were just wearing boots. Snowshoes come in all shapes and sizes. Heavier people will want bigger snowshoes. If you're dealing with deep snow, you'll generally want bigger snowshoes because the increased surface area helps you stay afloat.
Don’t make it harder than it has to be
It's important to put snow baskets on your trekking poles. Snow baskets are little round devices that fasten to the ends of trekking poles and prevent them from tunneling all the way down to the frozen ground.
Important extras to stuff in your pack
Snow has a tendency to sneak into your clothes and melt. Extra mittens, hats and socks don't take up much room in your pack, and swapping wet clothes out for dry clothes can be a great way to refresh yourself mid-hike. Along the lines, chemical heat packs are also handy, lightweight and don't take up a lot of room.
Protect your feet
Snow also likes to sneak into boots. If you've never seen gaiters before, they're essentially a pieces of waterproof fabric that cover the top of your boots and wrap around your legs, bridging the gap between your boots and snowpants.
Don’t break your teeth
When selecting the snacks you'll bring on your hike, keep this in mind. I've learned that protein bars and granola bars freeze easily, while crackers, nuts and dried fruit are much easier to eat in the cold. There's nothing more frustrating than being thirsty and finding your water has turned into a block of ice.
Read the snow
The snow covers up a lot of interesting features in the landscape, but in return, it offers you insight into the wildlife in the area. Animal tracks are a lot of fun to study, and it's easy to identify many of Maine's critters by their tracks alone.
A mile seems a lot longer when you're breaking trail through a foot of powder. Keep in mind that winter days are short. Carry a headlamp and go into your hike with a turn-around time so you don't get stuck in the woods after dark (unless you want to).
You can hike at night
Winter is the perfect time to try night hiking during the full moon because the moonlight reflects off the snow and illuminates the landscape.