Posted November 23, 2022
When it’s 75°F and sunny and you tell people you are going for a hike, they won’t think much of it. In fact, many trailhead parking lots will be busy with the comings and goings of people looking to get outdoors and enjoy the weather. Through the first Spring blooms, to the mid-Summer heat, to the first subtle hints of Fall, public trails and beaches are, understandably, filled with people seeking an opportunity to recreate in the great outdoors.
Then, the air gets a little colder. The songbirds’ chorus becomes a little softer. The leaves of deciduous trees burst into a lively explosion of color, before falling, lifeless, to the ground. The beaches empty and the woods seem to grow still.
But even once winter arrives and most people retreat to the indoors, nature pushes on. Migrating waterfowl journey from the North to our warmer shores. Hungry squirrels venture out of their shelters in search of food, hoping they aren’t spotted by a Red-tailed Hawk sitting in an evergreen tree. The Snowy Owl hunts silently along the march and meadow, watching and listening for unsuspecting rabbits below.
And so I bundle up, and head out onto the trail. It is during these winter hikes that I feel myself most connected to nature. Maybe it’s the cold air against my cheeks forcing me awake when my body has started to hibernate, or the feelings of peace and tranquility found in the idleness of a snowy forest, but something draws me to the trails every year during winter. Sometimes, I bring my dad or husband along, and we search for signs of life scattered all around us, like tracks in fresh snow. The evidence of life, even in the darkest and coldest of seasons, serves as a reminder to me of how powerful and wonderful nature truly is and I find that after these winter walks I feel inspired and rejuvenated, ready to take on whatever challenges life has currently thrown my way.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good spring or summer hike like the rest of them, but there’s a certain magical feeling you get when out in a wooded area blanketed in a fresh layer of snow that is hard to compete with, and this winter I encourage you to find a moment to experience it for yourself!
Written by Amy Pettigrew, Board Member