Sunday, February 1, 2009

Snowshoeing fun in Auburn

Doug on the trail at Massabesic Audubon
Remember the fun and anticipation of getting outside to build a snow fort or a snowman when you were a kid? I feel some of that same anticipation about snowshoeing. It's been a long time since I've viewed snow as an invitation to "go outside and play."

We left our household chores undone yesterday and headed out to the Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn, which borders Lake Massabesic. Our reward was crisp air, sunny blue skies, and a clean blanket of snow. A great way to recharge our spirits and get a little exercise!

The Center rents snowshoes ($8) and provides a map -- although there are only three main trails and they're pretty well marked. We started out in an open field which was windy, but very soon the trail led us into a more protected forest. I liked the fact that there were many tall, beautiful trees, but lots of open sky, too. One trail led us to Lake Massabesic (more than 2,500 acres large) and of course, with the cold temperatures we've had, it was safe to venture out onto the lake.

We also explored an osprey blind, a small hut with comfy chair and window overlooking the water. I don't know much about these large raptors, but since they survive on fish, I guess they migrate in winter.

Even though the Audubon Center was busy today, with lots of people renting snowshoes, we weren't crowded on the trails at all. We spent an hour or so crunching through the snow and enjoyed every minute of it!

Things to Know Before You Go: The Massabesic Audubon Center is a lively, family-friendly place. They have ongoing programs, exhibits, and live animals including a barred owl, a snapping turtle, a python, some mice, and even Madagascar "hissing" cockroaches.

For More Information and Directions: Visit their website, call (603) 668-2045 or enter their address into your favoite online map or GPS: 26 Audubon Way, Auburn, NH.

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