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Your Time: Snowshoeing at the DAR State Forest, Goshen

  • Snowshoes stand up in a snow pile, awaiting use at a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Snowshoes stand up in a snow pile, awaiting use at a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Program Leader Maggie Shar, left, signs Joseph Lees and Carol Sutton of Athol into a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Program Leader Maggie Shar, left, signs Joseph Lees and Carol Sutton of Athol into a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Matt Lucier of Montague helps to strap on a snowshoe during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Matt Lucier of Montague helps to strap on a snowshoe during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Joseph Lees of Athol watches as Program Leader Michaela Twarog of Northampton straps a snowshoe to his boots during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Joseph Lees of Athol watches as Program Leader Michaela Twarog of Northampton straps a snowshoe to his boots during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Matt Lucier of Montague helps Patricia Gilman of Hatfield figure out how to hold a pole properly during a snowshoeing class at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Matt Lucier of Montague helps Patricia Gilman of Hatfield figure out how to hold a pole properly during a snowshoeing class at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Virginia Rechtschaffen of Northampton takes the front of the pack during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013. Lesley Slay of Northampton, center, and Joseph Lees of Athol, right, follow behind.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Virginia Rechtschaffen of Northampton takes the front of the pack during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013. Lesley Slay of Northampton, center, and Joseph Lees of Athol, right, follow behind.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Program Leader Maggie Shar, right, offers a snack to Virginia Rechtschaffen of Northampton, center, and Program Leader Matt Lucier of Montague, left, during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Program Leader Maggie Shar, right, offers a snack to Virginia Rechtschaffen of Northampton, center, and Program Leader Matt Lucier of Montague, left, during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Program Leader Maggie Shar, left, watches as Program Leader Matt Lucier of Montague challenges her race during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Program Leader Maggie Shar, left, watches as Program Leader Matt Lucier of Montague challenges her race during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lesley Slay of Northampton, left, takes the front of the pack during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Lesley Slay of Northampton, left, takes the front of the pack during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • A snowshoeing class for seniors exits the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013. The group hiked roughly two miles on the trails.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    A snowshoeing class for seniors exits the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013. The group hiked roughly two miles on the trails.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lesley Slay, left, and Virginia Rechtschaffen of Northampton share a snack in a shelter during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Lesley Slay, left, and Virginia Rechtschaffen of Northampton share a snack in a shelter during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Snowshoes stand up in a snow pile, awaiting use at a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Program Leader Maggie Shar, left, signs Joseph Lees and Carol Sutton of Athol into a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Matt Lucier of Montague helps to strap on a snowshoe during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Joseph Lees of Athol watches as Program Leader Michaela Twarog of Northampton straps a snowshoe to his boots during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Matt Lucier of Montague helps Patricia Gilman of Hatfield figure out how to hold a pole properly during a snowshoeing class at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Virginia Rechtschaffen of Northampton takes the front of the pack during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013. Lesley Slay of Northampton, center, and Joseph Lees of Athol, right, follow behind.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Program Leader Maggie Shar, right, offers a snack to Virginia Rechtschaffen of Northampton, center, and Program Leader Matt Lucier of Montague, left, during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Program Leader Maggie Shar, left, watches as Program Leader Matt Lucier of Montague challenges her race during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Lesley Slay of Northampton, left, takes the front of the pack during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • A snowshoeing class for seniors exits the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013. The group hiked roughly two miles on the trails.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Lesley Slay, left, and Virginia Rechtschaffen of Northampton share a snack in a shelter during a snowshoeing class for seniors at the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen on January 9, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

About a dozen men and women — over the age of 60 and bundled up in winter coats, gloves and hats — gathered at the DAR State Forest in Goshen on a recent Wednesday to take part in “Snowshoeing for Seniors.”

The program, which is open to beginner and intermediate-level participants, offers classes at several locations in the Pioneer Valley. The excursions are guided by three leaders: Maggie Shorn of Northampton, Michaela Twarog of Northampton and Matt Lucier of Montague.

The classes began about three years ago and are run by All Out Adventures, a nonprofit organization based in Easthampton that says it promotes “health, community and independence for people of all abilities and their families and friends through outdoor recreation.” The classes are free.

The seniors usually hike one to three miles depending on the group’s desire and capability. Shorn, Twarog and Lucier are open to suggestions about which trails to explore. If the ground is bare, the group hikes in the woods.

“I just needed to get out and exercise and meet new people,” one woman said. Many older people, she added, “complain about having pain in their bodies but the pain you feel after exercising is much less than the pain you feel if you just sit around.” Others said they enjoy the sense of community, along with the exercise and sightseeing opportunities the outings offer.

“I walk in the woods, I hike — you know, I’m in pretty good shape,” said Patricia Gilman of Hatfield. “When I’m feeling sad, if I go outside I immediately feel better.”

To suggest a subject for Your Time, email Suzanne Wilson at swilson@gazettenet.com.

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