3 ways to embrace the snow this season
Winter has its lovers and its haters. If you’re excited by thoughts of skiing, snowmen and sledding all afternoon, then these adventures are yet another way to celebrate the season you already enjoy. If winter means nothing more to you than slippery roads, frigid toes and way too much time scraping ice off the windshield of your car, maybe they’ll help you find the snowy silver lining to a season that really can be a load of fun. The key is to get out into it.
ICE CLIMBING, SNOWSHOEING AND SKIING IN ACADIA
You may have explored Acadia’s mountains, beaches and carriage trails on a warm summer day, but it’s worth checking out this national park in the winter, too. Hit the carriage trails for some cross-country skiing or snowshoeing and revel in the winter scenery, frozen ponds and solitude. Or try ice climbing with local outfitter Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School. They’ll supply all the gear and know-how, and you’ll have a memorable winter adventure that’ll challenge and surprise you. Rates start at $45 per person for a half day, depending on the number of people in your group. FMI: acadiamountainguides.com
*If you’re looking for a fun group to ice climb with, check out the ice climbing adventure on Feb. 24 with Maine Yoga Adventures. The day includes ice climbing, a snowshoe hike, warm food, and a soak in the hot tub at Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center. $185.
FULL MOON HIKE
Breathe in the crisp winter air and hike under the light of a full moon! There are a number of guided full moon hikes around Maine this winter—some even include hot cocoa and s’mores. These hikes are generally easy-going, so they’re great for families and folks who aren’t avid hikers (but you will want to make sure to dress warmly, bring a headlamp or flashlight and appropriate footwear for the conditions—be that snow boots, traction or snowshoes).
Kennebunkport Conservation Trust will lead full moon hikes on Jan. 1, Jan. 31, and March 1 on three miles of trails at Emmons Preserve. The hikes are free and you’re welcome to bring a beverage to enjoy in the headquarters after the hike. FMI: kporttrust.org
Hidden Valley Nature Center in Jefferson is hosting full moon hikes on Jan. 30, Feb. 28 and March 29. The group will hike 2.5 miles to the pond to see the full moon rising. Snowshoes available to borrow, and the hike will end with a hot drink and camaraderie at one of the heated cabins. FMI: midcoastconservancy.org
Royal River Conservation Trust’s annual Pisgah Hill Full Moon Trek is Feb. 1. It’s a family-friend hike to the summit of Pisgah Hill in New Gloucester, where a bonfire, hot cocoa and marshmallow toasting await, along with stupendous views of the full moon. The hike is free. FMI: rrct.org
SKI, SWIM & SAUNA
Cross-country skiing, an outdoor heated pool and the splendid sweat of an end-of-day sauna. It’s a winter trifecta that combines a bit of outdoor activity with plenty of well-deserved relaxation. And then more relaxation. Toss in a pit stop at the tavern for a beer and a burger and you’ve got yourself a day worth writing home about. The ski-swim-sauna package is offered by the clever folks at The Bethel Inn’s Nordic Ski Center—they understand how the addition of an outdoor heated pool makes every adventure even better. Especially in the winter. The package costs $27 and includes trail access and use of the health club, outdoor heated pool and saunas. Skis are available to rent if you don’t have your own ($18 for adults, $15 for seniors, $12 for youth & $10 for 6 and under). FMI: bethelinn.com
Shannon Bryan is an editor of Maine Women Magazine and is always up for an adventure.