Winter camping tips
If you’re a novice, consider an introduc-tory outing with organizations such as ADK Winter Mountaineering School (www.win
terschool.org); Appalachian Mountain Club (activities.outdoors.org); International Mountain Climbing School (www.ime-usa.com/imcs/mountaineering_winter_camping_skills); or REI (www.rei.com/adventures/activity/winter.html).
■ Look to go with others. There’s greater safety in numbers.
■ Make detailed trip plans and let others know your group’s route.
■ Be prepared for the extremes in temperature and conditions with the proper gear and clothing. Bring extra clothing and food just in case.
■ Plan on using skis or snowshoes and be aware that hiking above treeline requires ice axe and crampon skills and knowledge of avalanche risk and safety.
■ Keep close tabs on weather forecasts and avalanche conditions where you’re going.
■ Know how to navigate with map and compass.
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WHERE TO GO
These three destinations offer a deep woods feel without remoteness, with warmth and supplies available at nearby lodges or facilities.
Catamount Trail, Vermont
The Catamount Trail runs 300 miles from Massachusetts to Canada, earning it status as North America’s longest ski trail, but snowshoers are welcome, too. Leaving from Bolton Valley Nordic Ski lodge, in less than 2 miles you’ll find one of the sweetest winter spots in the Green Mountain State. There are also plenty of shelter, cabin, and inn and bed-and-breakfast options along the trail. www.catamounttrail.org
Mount Cardigan, N.H.
Along 50 miles of well-marked trails in the Cardigan Reservation’s 1,200 acres, you’ll find tent camping, cabin, or lodge options. “It’s ideal for someone just starting out,” says the AMC’s Rob Burbank, “because you feel like you’re in the woods, but you can duck into the lodge if you have to.” Follow the Manning Trail from Cardigan through mixed hardwood forest to any of a half-dozen wintry sites.
The 100-Mile Wilderness, Maine
Just 1.5 miles from parking, you’ll find Trout Pond, home to moose, deer, porcupine, martins, ermines, snowshoe hare. If the wind kicks up, three-sided Phoenix Shelter offers refuge. Lodges and cabins, with wood-burning stoves, to the north and south are also an option. www.outdoors.org/mainelodges