WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND
One of my favorite things to do in the winter is go snow shoeing with my family at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. It is a great way to embrace the frigid Illinois winters and experience the beauty of snow-covered forests. Even though it may seem like winter is the time to stay inside and hide away under a pile of blankets (I mean, it most definitely is) snow shoeing in such a beautiful forest preserve reminds me of the magic that the season can simultaneously hold.
Picking Up the Gear
When we arrived, we went into the Visitor's Center at the Morton Arboretum to rent our snow shoes. The Arboretum rents snow shoes and cross country skis from November 29 to March 13 each year, but there must be at least four inches of snow for them to be rented. Adult snow shoes are $13 for Arboretum members and $15 for non-members. Children's snow shoes are $11 for members and $13 for nonmembers. Cross-country skis, with boots and poles included, are $18 for members and $20 for nonmembers. The prices are for all-day rentals. After we paid for the shoes, we laced them up and started our adventure through the trees.
Our Journey Through the Trees
The Morton Arboretum is a nonprofit organization and beautiful forest preserve with many trails through lots of different types of plants and trees, a visitor's center with a gift shop, and a children's area (with playgrounds and mazes). You can explore the beauty of nature there through any season, but snow shoeing in the winter really gives a different perspective than any other time of the year. There is just something about the glistening snowflakes gently placed on each branch and paving a fresh trail of footprints in what seems like an untouched ground that gives a new type of wonder to the forest. My family and I walked through several trails and clearings, taking our time and snapping pictures as we breathed in the crisp cold winter air.
After the Treck
After our walk through the woods, we always stop at the food center in the Arboretum for a cup of hot chocolate to warm up and reflect on all the beauty we just saw. Needless to say, if the conditions aren't too bad and there are at least four inches of snow on the ground, I recommend you go and explore the sometimes brutal winters in a whole new way with snow shoeing along a forest floor.