The First Time Snowshoeing in Hastings County

Photos and Story Submitted by Linsey De Ruysscher


At Cruising Canoes, they have a slogan. “Just. Show. Up.”

And you know what? That’s exactly what we did! Oh, and before you think we’re a bunch of crazy people, no we didn’t go canoeing in January. We went snowshoeing – and we had a blast!

Andrew “Twiggy” Twigg, owner of Cruising Canoes, spends his summers guiding adventurers on river paddles, weekend canoe trips, and he even runs summer camps and PA day camps for the kids! But during the winter months, he takes lovers of winter on weekend camping excursions and guided snowshoe tours. While I’m not quite sure I’m brave enough for winter camping, we really LOVED snowshoeing. As you can see from these smiles…


 Photo of two boys standing on a rock while snow shoeing


We met Andrew, his girlfriend, Felicity, and her daughter, Ella, at O’Hara Mill Conservation Area in Madoc. For larger groups, he will typically set up a place to meet and everyone would load into the Cruising Canoe van and head to the destination together. When we arrived, Andrew had everything we needed to enjoy a snowy day on the trails. None of us had ever snowshoed before, so we were kind of picturing those old-school snowshoes that resemble tennis rackets…but for your feet! Not the case. Snowshoes have come a long way! Andrew fitted us all with a pair of snowshoes and made sure we had them on properly and tightly. Once we were all geared up, it was time to hit the trails!


 Family snow shoeing


One thing you should know about Andrew is…he’s basically a big kid. Our boys LOVED that about him! He joked with them, raced through the snow with them, and we all had smiles on our faces the entire time we were out on the trails. Even our youngest spent the day smiling, and he probably spent most of his time falling face first into the snow. Instead of trying to follow the snow-covered trails, Andrew thought it would be fun to make our own! So, we followed him all over the O’Hara Mill Conservation Area and we even stopped to do a little tree climbing!


 Photo of two boys trying to climb a downed tree while snow shoeing


Andrew also gave us a bit of an education on trees – which the boys really enjoyed. They’re still talking about “those dead trees that the bugs ate”. (Manitoba Maples) And since it was such a beautiful, sunny morning, we stopped to take lots of pictures of the gorgeous scenery too! Isn’t winter beautiful?


 Snow covered rocks  


After our trek on the trails was complete, Andrew poured us all some yummy hot chocolate and we stood in the sun to warm up while we chatted about our day and some upcoming excursions Cruising Canoes has planned. If this looks like your kind of fun, there are still plenty of snowshoe adventures coming up. Or if you can’t wait to get on the water, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Creek Run Kickoff is on March 17th. We also chatted about the summer camps he runs for kids aged 8-13, and our boys are already asking if they can go!


Snow covered river

Snow covered forest


For more info on all the awesome events Cruising Canoes has planned this year, check out their Facebook page or head to their website at


Two boys standing by a river while snow shoeing


To find out where this family of wanderers will be heading next, keep your eye on the blog or follow Hastings County on Facebook! Spoiler alert…it’s almost maple season!


Story and photographs by Linsey De Ruysscher

Photo of Linsey De Ruysscher

As one of our six Local Wanderers exploring Hastings County, Linsey enjoys making memories with her family hiking on new trails and discovering new hidden attractions along the way. If there is a river to be paddled, they'll be there!

Learn more about Linsey through her bio, as well as for a link to the other adventures she has shared with us. You can also read about our other five Local Wanderers and the excursions they've experienced across the County.


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