With arctic temperatures on the wane, and a fantastic snow base on the ground, now is the time to explore some of Midcoast Conservancy’s preserves. Whether on snowshoes or skis, visitors can take in the splendor and serenity of the woods while getting a winter workout.
Hidden Valley Nature Center in Jefferson has more than 10 miles of groomed trails, and nearly 20 more miles for intrepid off-track skiers. Snowshoeing and fat-tire biking are also an option at the nature center. On Sundays, volunteer greeters meet incoming visitors and answer questions, and most days there is a fire burning in the woodstove at the barn, providing a place for warm-ups between runs, and a toasty lunch spot.
Soup Sundays are back on Sundays, Jan. 14 and 28 and on Sundays, Feb. 11 and 18; a big pot of locally made soup will be bubbling on the stove and available for $5 a bowl. This Sunday, Jan. 14, the soup is veggie beef with sugar kale.
For anyone looking to extend their outdoor adventure, the huts and yurt at Hidden Valley Nature Center can be rented for an overnight stay; each is outfitted with a wood stove, wood, and cots or sleeping lofts. For more information, or to make a reservation, go to midcoastconservancy.org/explore/campsites-lodging.
Other Midcoast Conservancy preserves that are accessible for snowshoe hiking (and have plowed-out parking lots) include the Trout Brook Preserve in Alna, the Whitefield Salmon Preserve in Whitefield, and the Whitten Hill Trail Head in Montville. To learn more about them, and to get directions, go to midcoastconservancy.org/explore/land-water-trails. Call Midcoast Conservancy with any questions at 389-5150.