Yeah, I said it… It’s January and cold here in Illinois as you might imagine. In order to get outside with the family and friends sometimes you need to make compromises because not everybody enjoys the thrill and honor of camping and sleeping outdoors when it is 7 degrees outside. Weirdos!
In order to get people to this point of enjoying the outdoors in all four seasons you need to sometimes ease them into it. Instead of tent camping maybe it’s the right time to introduce a rustic cabin with winter hiking. This weekend I will be doing just this with the family and some friends. A place and trails I know well be the destination along with no adequate cell service or wifi (sorry kids!).
Unplugging and disconnecting from the outside world even for 24 hours is a must for getting people aware of their surroundings and realizing they can live without these daily necessities. A word burning stove, rustic but amazing meals and winter hiking will soon fill their memories and lighten their future opinions of re-engaging in this type of activity again.
I encourage you to think of others when you are planning your winter outdoor adventures, and think of how you too can bring others along to experience all of nature’s wintertime splendor. You might have to make a few compromises from your normal methods of being outdoors, but you might enjoy the company and will surely enjoy sharing in your outdoor craft and sharing the outdoors.
Keep Hiking Forward!
2016 has been a pretty amazing year for my family and our outdoor adventures
This year has also been wonderful for my own growth as an outdoor educator and volunteer.
I've got plenty of ideas and plans to keep me busy in 2017. Most importantly, the arrival of a second Tyke Hiker to join Embry, due in March. Until then, we enjoyed a few hikes over the last few days to celebrate 2016.
We kicked off at the Retzer Nature Center. Embry loves clearing the trail so she did her best to make sure the trail was void of pine cones. Of course, we had to stop at fallen trees and stumps along the trail for some easy natural play. Embry especially enjoys the stump jumps as long as they don't lead to rump bumps.
We walked through various habitats. From prairie to the pond with woods along the way, we always enjoy a good trip to Retzer.
Them to cap off the year, we enjoyed a trip to our neighborhood nature spot, the Weiland preserve.
Embry always enjoys being the hike leader, though her tendency to want to stop and explore everything she sees does make for an interesting hiking pace. It compares to stop 'n go traffic, but with a lot more enthusiasm.
We took our usual route, enjoying and not avoiding what Embry calls "slip sloppy" ice. We saw tracks, scat, and collected every stick we could handle along the way.
I absolutely love the winter scenery. Being able to see into the woods from this barren perspective makes it seem the trees go on forever. There's just something so serene and calming about a winter walk.
Of course, the chuckles and silliness of a three year old tend to break the serenity quickly.
Near the end of the trail, Embry was mesmerized by the ice. She counted the leaves trapped in the ice and was especially enamored with the frozen footsteps and the bubbles trapped inside.
But, nothing is more fun than "ice skating" on the curb line ice and cracking as much as possible on the way home. Bring on more adventure 2017! We'll be ready!
Keep Hiking Forward!
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