After a relatively dry winter last year, the current 2020-21 season has delivered approximately 35 inches of snow in the Round Hill community from three storms through the first half of February. And with the temperature dipping below freezing most evenings, the snow pack has remained for extended periods of time. While substantial snow amounts are a chore for keeping driveways clear and make typical walking a challenge, it has also been a welcome opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts who like to cross country ski and snow shoe.
To be clear, cross country skiing and snow shoeing can be good workout similar to jogging or running. The level of energy associated with both activities require increased energy that within minutes increases the heartbeat and body temperature significantly to offset the cold weather. The body may feel the effects the day after from previous unused muscles, but the mental benefits of being outside in the beauty of winter is palpable. It is even greater when shared with other friends and winter sports participants.
Finding the appropriate terrain to do this and having access to it can be challenging as well. Many of the public accessible space in the area are great for walking but have narrow paths, rocks, roots, and steep elevation unsuitable for skis or snow shoes. Luckily, the Nichols Nature Preserve at the end of West Lane just off the north end of Bedford Road in Round Hill offers a nearby solution for these two activities.
The 94 acres in the Nichols Preserve are managed by the Greenwich Riding and Trails Association (GRTA), a longtime backcountry organization supporting equestrian activities. This is a diverse parcel of land open all year consisting of trails, expansive meadows, ponds, and swamps with occasional horse jumps. It is tucked away in a distant location next to Armonk, NY and near enough to I-684 where the noise from traffic is unfortunately noticeable. There is no designated parking lot, so it is not crowded and over used particularly in the winter months. There are no snow mobile tracks (which are not allowed) but there are often ski and snow shoes tracks. The property faces west and can provide stunning sunsets throughout all seasons. Visitors and guests are asked to treat the nature of the preserve with respect.