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Winter hiking in Arizona is overrated: Stay with the SHT!

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Winter hiking in Arizona is overrated: Stay with the SHT!

If you see an orange laminated sign at a Superior Hiking Trail trailhead, know that it has expired: they were there to tell you the SHT was closed for the firearm deer season. That’s over (with the exception of Dec. 1-5 in Jay Cooke SP), so you’re free to wear whatever color you want for winter hiking.

Speaking of which:  Is there a finer time to be in the Northwoods than in winter?  And is there a better point of entry to those woods than the SHT?

Warm clothes and a trusty walking stick will help you explore winter wonders on the Trail.

The sun’s oblique angle produces sweet pale yellows that give the snow a paradoxical warm glimmer. Animal tracks practically shout their owner’s name (or at least their species). Countenanced from a high ridge, the steely gaze of Lake Superior is even steelier.

You will never know silence quite like the silence of the woods in winter. Stop and listen, and listen hard — there’s nothing but your own heartbeat and your breathing. (Stop the latter for a bit for the full effect of the silence, but not the former.)

If you don’t use snowshoes and you’re not one to post-hole yourself through the snow, snowshoers who’ve preceded you will do a nice trail-packing job. Be sure to thank them for making your trek easier if you encounter them.

Don’t forget the shorter days, and do watch where you’re going. If you’re the first to hike out there, it’s easy to lose track of the Trail.