I started smow hiking this year. We just hiked to First Pump on Saturday. Great views. Take advantage before it turns to mush with warm weather.
I find that crampons or microspikes are preferable to snowshoes for the North Shore trails. I think more than 90% of hikers stay on the packed down trail so the float of snowshoes is not necessary. But having said that if you step 5 feet off of the trail you can sink down to your knees. Snowshoes can be bulky and cumbersome on some narrow trails. And I find them a bit dangerous descending on steep descents, especially with my simple low-end aluminum tube framed snowshoes. The following is a link to a pair of hiking crampons which I bought for USD$12. They are not for iceclimbing, but are superior to microspikes imo.