Today the weather didn’t toy with us. It was sunny from the get go. Yes, cold, but still sunny 😎 with little or no wind. We felt emboldened to journey to Lake Rebecca Park Reserve on the northwest edge of the Three Rivers Park District. Our plan was to snowshoe the ungroomed trail around the lake. As is sometimes the case, our plan and reality diverged a tiny bit. 😏
We parked in the lot designated for winter parking, with only one car there when we arrived. But the day before had obviously been busy because there were boot, ski, and snowshoe tracks galore.
We started east from the Beachside picnic shelter on what the winter map designated as a multi-use trail. But it would have been nice to have had the summer map along (which we didn’t) to show that we were walking on a road.
While the summer map clearly shows a road going south from here beneath the powerlines, the winter map does not. Yet it’s obviously here and an obviously popular winter route. To stay on the ungroomed winter route, we should have continued eastward on what is the summer paved trail. We went down the road instead.
The road took us south to a junction with the ungroomed winter trail at the southeast corner of Lake Rebecca. We turned west here and proceeded along the south shore of the lake. This path was less used than the road we’d been on.
We came to where the ungroomed winter trail makes a sharp turn to the south. Here we impetuously left the it to follow a set of snowshoe tracks up a slope. Doing so soon brought us to the plowed Maintenance Road.
Rather that take the Maintenance Road as a shortcut back to the parking lot, we went south on it to where it plugged the winter trail with a huge berm. Skirting that pile of snow, we continued west on the winter trail to a parking lot at a junction with the snowmobile trail.
We shared a short section of trail with the snowmobiles before returning to the ungroomed trail and turning east toward the parking lot. This section of trail was truly ungroomed and we were largely breaking trail for the first time today. And on a mild uphill slope as well. The last mile back to the car always feels the hardest and seems to go on far longer than a mile. 😕
The latest (2022) winter map was a little vague as to how we were supposed to get back to the winter parking lot. So we just continued on what is the paved summer trail, past the north end of the Maintenance Road, across the ice fishing access road, past a mountain bike trail, and past a hiking trail with snowshoe tracks. We soon reached cleared road to the parking lot and a short walk on that took us back to the car.
Today’s effort came to 5.5 miles (8.8 km) with 315 feet (96m) of gain.We had a few navigation moments as we tried to reconcile the winter map with all the tracks going in different directions. Note to us: bring all the maps next time!
But we did get to see more of Lake Rebecca than we did last summer, thanks to the absence of cattails. So, in the end, it was great exercise on a near perfect day to be out playing in the snow. 😁