With proper clothing the cold temperatures of winter can be dealt with, at least up to a point. The snow, however, can be deadly (There are times when its best to leave the car at home) or delightful—if one has access to a suitable hiking area and a pair of snowshoes. A whole new world awaits you. I’ve written about the Anoka Nature Preserve before, in the summer and fall. It has been transformed by several inches of snow, the paths through the woods (which are full of thorns, burrs and deer ticks in the summer) become a snowshoer’s paradise. One advantage of the traditional snowshoes (old-school Ojibwa for me) is their ability to traverse unbroken snow, via the “float”, in a way that the modern ones can’t. Conversely, the traditional ones do not work as well on packed (groomed) snow.
One of the more subtle joys of being off the beaten trail is eating fresh, unsullied snow. The ice crystals explode in your mouth and, if you have worked up some body heat, cool your innards in a most delightful fashion.