New snow means conditions are good for Champlain Area Trails (CATS) ski/snowshoe adventure Saturday, February 17, on the Sophie’s Lair Trail in Willsboro. Skiers or snowshoers should meet at 9:15 a.m. at the Florence Hathaway trailhead on Essex Road in Willsboro (look for the tennis courts). The Florence Hathaway Trail, about a half-mile long, leads to the Sophie’s Lair Trail. Overall, the ski/snowshoe adventure will run about 3 hours.
Before the trek, skiers and snowshoers are encouraged to meet at 8 a.m. for breakfast at the Willsboro Diner. Reservations are not required, but advance notice is requested to give the Willsboro Diner a heads up on numbers; please call (518) 962-2287 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sophie’s Lair is a beautiful trail, with a variety of paths through a lovely forest with old stone walls from forgotten farms and majestic trees of oak, hickory and pine. There are small frozen creeks, seasonally wet but now frozen areas, and gentle hills perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Most of CATS trails are on private property where landowners allow public access along the trail. Sophie’s Lair Trail landowners Jenny and Reginald Bedell offered their property as a place for a trail and worked with CATS and the Open Space Institute to conserve their property, making the trail permanent through a conservation easement. “We enjoyed hiking the trails on our property and wanted to share that with others,” says Jenney Bedell. “Working with CATS and OSI made that possible. We’re delighted that it is being used in this way and that we could name the trail after our cat, Sophie.”
“We are grateful to the Bedells for making this beautiful property part of the CATS network of trails,” said CATS Executive Director Chris Maron. It’s people like them, who so generously offer to share their land, that makes many of CATS trails available to all.”
Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is a nonprofit organization that creates and maintains hiking and cross-country ski trails in the Champlain Valley, with the goal of linking communities, connecting people with nature and promoting economic vitality. CATS is also an accredited land trust working to conserve natural communities, farmland, clean water, and scenic vistas. Information on future CATS events and activities is available on the website at champlainareatrails.com and by following CATS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Please call (518) 962-2287 for more information.