I have been out on the North Shore Rugged Trail a couple of times over the past three days with the new snow we have received. I judge it suitable for exploring with snowshoes. Take along one or two poles, trust me on this. I don't suggest heading out with just boots, or even skis. It's too deep for shoes, even where I have started packing down a bit of trail. And there is not enough snow for skis. I'm planning to wait until the the Big Sound has frozen over before I start exploring on skis. Once frozen over I can go back and forth from the trail to the ice depending on the section. Those of you familiar with the trail know about the half dozen steep sections that really aren't easy to traverse on skis. (Remember: Discretion is the better part of valour. You really don't want to be rescued on the trail because of a broken ankle.)
A couple of days ago Thunder Creek was impassable because of the seiche pushing water in from the Big Sound. As of today it's passable, but wear boots in your snowshoes if you plan on crossing. I recommend Bogs (available at White Squall in Parry Sound). They keep my feet warm down to -20 degrees C, and offer about 25 cm of waterproofing. As you can see from the photo below I was able to cross Thunder Creek earlier today but punched through in a few places.
Okay, time to head out there and explore. I have packed a bit of a path up to Thunder Creek that goes inland a little more than usual because there really isn't enough snow close to the shore. It will take the Big Sound freezing over before snow accumulates along the edge. If a few people manage to get out on the trail and pack things down a bit it will be easier slogging for all of us.