During the winter it is less common for people to be going out walking the AVIS Reservations. Is it because of the snow or the chill of winter? Maybe you didn’t have someone to go out with. There are plenty of activities that are still enjoyable on these trails in the wintertime, especially with friends and family.
Some activities that may spark an interest are cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. After it snows on the trails, the paths can get covered by the snow so it may be difficult to try and walk through the reservations. If you own skis or snowshoes, those activities would be perfect alternatives to walking. If you take a look at the trails after it snows you may notice that there isn’t really a trail to follow because the ground is covered. Luckily, the trails are marked on the trees to make it easier to follow the path. At the Deer Jump Reservation, I have seen cross-country skiers getting out on the trails right after snowfall making a path for everyone else to follow. If you see ski tracks and you are able to walk to the side of them, that would be helpful for the skiers.
Another activity that could be fun is trying to spot animal prints in the snow. After a fresh snowstorm would be the best time to go out looking for these tracks. If you find any tracks in the snow you could try to identify which type of animal you think left those tracks. You may take a picture of it and show other people and have them guess as well. In the picture above you can see what the different prints are of different animals. You can also read this article from Mass Audubon or this article from Princeton University to help you try and identify animal tracks. After going out on the reservations you may find that there are a lot more tracks of different species of animals you didn’t know about before looking. You could look for rabbit, deer, or squirrel tracks which are all in the diagram above.
On Sunday, January 30th, the day after the blizzard I went out walking on the Deer Jump Reservation with one of my friends. We had passed a couple of people walking with skis and one person walking with snowshoes. We were only in snow boots so it was more difficult to walk on the trails since it was fresh snow and hadn’t been packed down yet. The skiers and snowshoers did seem to be moving around the snow easily. While on my walk, I thought it was beautiful seeing everything covered in the fresh white snow. The Merrimack River was covered in snow just like the ground. If you didn’t know the Merrimack River was there you might have thought it was a field covered with snow. As we walked through the trails I started noticing some sort of tracks in the snow. I ended up walking off the path to try and follow the prints and find out what kind of animal they had come from. Unfortunately, I did not end up finding any animals at the end of the tracks. In the end, my friend and I had a great time walking through the trails even when covered in snow. I had never actually walked through the trails after a snowstorm so it was definitely an exciting new experience to have and I would do it again!