If you are struggling with cabin fever and are looking winter recreation to hasten the long months of winter,
head for the Northwoods. Here are some suggestions for outdoor recreation. To help you plan,
I’ve included a brief list of the gear that you will need for each activity.
|1.||Snowmobiling||Without a doubt the favorite winter activity of the Northwoods. Every northern county has a trail map. The local clubs do an excellent job of maintaining the trails and providing reports on conditions.||Snowmobile – owned or rented. Trail maps, insulated bibs, insulated boots, a heavy insulated coat, balaclava, helmet, flashlight with new batteries.|
|2.||Ice fishing||Also very popular. The larger the group, the better for more fun on the ice while you are waiting for that first bite. Some lakes are better suited for ice fishing than others so call a local bait shop and find out what lakes are “hot”.||Fishing license, jigging rod, live bait, jigging lures and tackle, a small lead weight on a string to measure the depth, a portable shanty with heater if temp is below 30. Otherwise, a couple of buckets to sit on. Dress as if you were going snowmobiling but forget the balaclava and helmet.|
|3.||X-country skiing||There are 700 miles of trails exclusively for this activity. Google “Wisconsin cross country trails”. The DNR website has all the trails listed so be sure to visit their site.||Cross country skis (owned or rented) with boots, bindings and poles. Ski pants or complete ski suit with cap. Goggles. Water bottle to stay hydrated, high energy bars. If a state park trail, a sticker is needed.|
|4.||ATV||This is primarily a lake activity in the winter, although I occasionally see ATV’s on the snowmobile trails.||ATV owned or rented. Dress as if you were snowmobiling and include the balaclava and helmet.|
|5.||Down hill skiing||There are four ski resorts situated along the Wisconsin/Upper Michigan border.||Same as cross county skiing but with different skis, poles, boots, and bindings. You probably won’t need the water bottle. All ski resorts rent everything you need. You might want to use your own goggles.|
|6.||Snowshoeing||An excellent way to get a close-up look at Wisconsin’s woods. You are not required to be on a trail. Northern WI has a massive amount of land that is government owned and open to the public. Much of this land has logging trails that you can follow.||Snowshoes are the only specialized gear. Dress warm in layers so if perspiration is a problem, you can peel something off.|
|7.||Winter camping||I recommend the islands on big flowages (Turtle Flambeau, Gile, Chippewa, Rainbow, Willow). The islands are owned by the State and camping is free at a designated site. No reservations required.||Same as summer camping with some exceptions. Tent needs an appropriate heater. Fresh water should be kept in the tent. Clean snow can be melted over a fire for drinking. Super insulated sleeping bags. Sleep inside the bag or put a stocking cap on. Extra propane bottles. Coleman fuel for your portable stove or to get a pesky fire started. I recommend a fully charged cell phone and a GPS beaming device so you can be located in case of emergency.|
|8.||Sledding||Down hill. Not snowmobile sledding. Most ski resorts have a designated area for sledding.||Sleds can be rented for a nominal fee at the resort. I recommend a first aid kit in case of collisions.|
|9.||Snow Tubing||Using an oversized inner tube on a sledding hill is popular for group sledding. Everyone grabs their neighbors tube so one massive group can go down the hill together.||A large inner tube and a good sledding hill. Ski resorts permit tubing.|
|10.||Sleighing||Another great way to see the Northwoods as a group activity. These are large sleighs on steel skis which are pulled by horses. Check with local Chamber of Commerce’s to see who offers sleighing.||Warm winter clothing. A camera is mandatory.|
So get out there NOW and have some fun in the Northwoods!