Are you craving the palpable, enveloping solitude of the winter woods, when you only hear the wind whisper and your heart beat? Don’t let icy, snow-packed trails stop your forest bathing. When you can’t float in deeper snow with a snowshoe but want secure traction use crampons. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. Here are some tips.
Rough trail conditions from scant snow, warm temperatures and heavy traffic on popular hiking trails around the Inn at Wawanissee Point www.innatwawanisseepoint.com can ruin snowshoes, especially over exposed rocks. Crampons tackle any trail conditions: ice, icy packed mud and snow, or snow.
Crampons are a traction devise that straps to hiking boots or pack boots. They have cleats (triangular spikes) like a snowshoe.
- LL Bean www.llbean.com has an wide selection of styles with metal coils, spikes and cleats.
- For maximum stability with some adjustability—helpful if you have more than one type of boot—consider L. L. Bean Boa Traction Footwear here.
- Hillsound Trail Crampons with 2/3” cleats in a plate-and-chain system under the ball of your foot keep the cleats from shifting hillsound.com.
- Yaktrak also has a variety www.yaktrax.com.
Explore Off The Trails For Nicer Hiking
As of Christmastime 2018 the forests of the Baraboo Bluffs have spotty snow cover. It might not look like winter but the bare artistry and tranquility of the woods and prairies yield a refreshing hiking experience. This year there are more barred owls hanging around and calling throughout the afternoons, come feel and hear their presence. De-stress and enjoy the warmth at Wawanissee Point.
Book your winter retreat at our secluded resort HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.
Winter is an ideal time to hike Sauk County’s 24 state natural areas (SNAs), more sensitive landscapes with greater protection than state parks thus most don’t have trails. The snow lets you freely explore without getting lost. And here you’ll rarely encounter other people or rough tracks.
- Review the SNA’s by county here. Click on Sauk County in the south-central section.
- Download a topographic map of each SNA on the Maps tab.
- The Access tab has road directions to designated parking areas. Many SNAs now have a brown and white sign at the road making them easier to spot from the road.
There are four SNA’s within Devil’s Lake State Park: Parfrey’s Glen bordering the Inn, Devil’s Lake Oak Forest, East Bluff and South Bluff/Devil’s Nose. Mirror Lake State Park has two SNAs within, Pine Oak and Fern Dell Gorge, which has ice formations.
Prepare for spring birding during winter by exploring our renown birding SNAs:
- Honey Creek, Pine Hollow and Hemlock Draw
- Baxter’s Hollow with Otter Creek running through it
- Devil’s Lake Oak Forest and South Bluff/Devil’s Nose
Why We Love Winter Hiking
- No mosquitoes, ticks, poison ivy.
- No thick vegetative undergrowth, revealing the artistic beauty of bare rocks, outcroppings, tree architecture and bark.
- Snow is a natural tracking device. You can’t get lost exploring off trail.
- Solitude. There are few mind-cleansing experiences like a long hike in the woods, especially peaceful in winter. Learn about the health benefits of forest bathing here.
After hiking relax with our…
- Shiatsu massage chair
- massage-therapy tubs for two in the Bird’s Nest and Bordeaux guest rooms
- private in-room massage in Bordeaux and Secret Garden guest rooms
- Massages and more at day spas Spa Serenity spaserenitydayspa.com in Baraboo and Cloud Nine cloudninesaukcity.com in Sauk City.
Gear To Bring Besides Crampons
- Winter boots or waterproof hiking boots, the taller, above-the-ankle style.
- Several pairs of wool socks.
- Waterproof snow pants or gaiters. Cotton pants get wet, cold and heavy.
- A windbreaker and/or waterproof jacket.
- Hat, and waterproof mittens or gloves.
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and sunscreen lip balm.
- Wicking long underwear of wool, silk or synthetic materials (no cotton) against your skin, topped with a fleece or wool middle layer. A zippered top helps regulate heat.
- Small backpack for a water bottle, snack and to stash layers as you warm up.
- Trekking poles reduce some of the weight and strain encountered on steep terrain and help if your knees aren’t in the best shape.