Ice & Snow: 3 Winter Quick & Healthy Breaks In Upper Valley VT-NH
You’re in the Hanover NH area, and your day is going to be full, but you need to squeeze in some exercise. Oh, and there’s snow on the ground, as well as patches of ice. Never mind: you want to be outdoors, but just enough to feel refreshed and energized. A brisk winter adventure break is what you have in mind.
Try these, but apply your superlative wisdom to the fact that winter sports require special precautions. Stay warm and safe.
Along Mink Brook. If you can walk, you can snowshoe, providing there’s enough snow (3+ inches or so). No instruction is necessary. Today’s trip begins just south of Hanover en route to West Lebanon (Route 10). At a dip in the road, there’s a power station. Park as near to it as you can; this will depend on snow conditions. Make your way down the bank at the power station to a flat trail beside a pond-y body of water. (Muddy Boots would not term this a brook, but yields to local nomenclature). Out and back makes a short but refreshing outing, and you are likely to see birds and other wildlife. The trail is very Easy.
If there’s not enough snow coverage for snowshoeing, but the trail is icy, put on your spikes, and off you go.
Rent snowshoes from Eastern Mountain Sports, LLBean, or the Dartmouth Outing Club. Use your trekking poles whether snowshoeing or spike-walking.
The Northern Rail Trail. If you’ve never biked on snow, this could be your day. Perhaps you’ve never seen a fat bike? These have balloon tires, which have a larger surface area than regular bike tires. “Fat” means they stick to loose stuff—snow and sand—more readily than you might expect.
The easiest place to fat bike in the Upper Valley is along the Northern Rail Trail, with terminus in Lebanon NH, off the parking lot for the town’s recreation center.
This route has two advantages. One, it’s flat and easy to navigate for your first fat-bike adventure. Two, it starts only half a mile or so from the best place around to rent fat bikes. This will be at Mason Racing, just off the main square in Lebanon. Rental costs are in the “treat” category for limited-budgeters. Read ahead of time for safety and general fat bike information, at: Winter Biking.
The Northern Rail Trail is a mixed use trail. If fat-biking is not your thing today—or if your wallet is not up to “treats”—it is an excellent place to walk or snowshoe. Spikes maybe?
Either: on the green in the Town of Lyme, which floods a rink for the winter. If you bring skates, that is.
Outdoor skating is easy on a limited-budgeters pocket. Plus, the ice can be primo especially if it has rained and the temperature drops. In the Upper Valley, the skating season can be veeery long.
Skates can be rented at Dartmouth Outing Club (603) 646-2428 at Occom Pond, another outdoor skating option in a natural setting.
Or: indoors at the Campion Rink. This is a great activity when too much “weather” prevents most everyone from lingering outside. Rental skates are available at the rink. Check for public session hours: Campion Rink. Costs are limited-budget-friendly.
Oooohhh: Bonus Thought….
Go sledding. Make friends with a kid and borrow a sled. And, if you need a popular spot, try Occom Pond.
Photo credits. Featured Image, Nor’easter Storm: CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by NASA Goddard. Top, Hollyburn snowshoe: CC BY 2.0 by kcxd via Flickr. Adjusting the Yaktrax: CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Brian Washburn. Man riding fat bike: CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr by Jeff Moser. Sledding: CC BY-SA via Flickr by Anoldent. Tricked out fat bike: CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Cole Robertson @ King Street Cycles.