Getting outside in the wintertime can sometimes be a challenge. It’s cold, wet, muddy, windy. I know I am much happier when I am spending a lot of time outdoors, and our Wyoming winters can either be beautiful or daunting. But I’m also one of those people who gets mean and cranky if I’m cooped up inside too much. So how do I make sure I get outside on a regular basis anyway?
For one, I bundle up. I’m always cold anyway, so if I’m not properly dressed, I’ll be back inside in record time. I layer, and I make sure I have quality outdoor gear. I try to buy winter clothes at the end of the season when they are on sale so that I can have the warmest clothing for the best price. I’m also not afraid to use heat packs. Whatever it takes to stay warm.
So, once you are warm, what do you do to have fun outside in the winter? It’s great to go ice fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding, or cross-country skiing, but what if you live where those activities require a day trip? What can you do if you only have an hour or two, and you need to get out of the house to save yourself from cabin fever?
How about going for a hike? You can still hit your favorite local trails, just make sure you have proper footwear. A good set of Yaktrax can be your best friend in the wintertime, try attaching them to your hiking boots and go see what your trail looks like this time of year. You can also strap them onto your running shoes.
A lot of our local water is frozen, but occasionally I’ll come across a river that has open water that’s fishable. Be sure to pack your fishing gear in your vehicle in the winter time too, just as you do in the summer. If you aren’t already packing your fishing gear with you everywhere you go, you should be.
Don’t completely banish your bike in the colder months. If your roads are dry and the wind isn’t too crazy, a wintertime ride can be a blast. Around here, sometimes the wind carries a lot of the snow to new places and there are clear trails to be seen, these are good for winter rides too.
If your trails aren’t clear, if they’re snowed over or muddy, put on your winter boots and head out with your camera. You might be surprised how many great shots you can get in the winter when the world looks completely different. Even if you can’t go very far, you can at least get some time outside. Just remember that you will stay warmer if you keep moving, so try not to be still for too long.
Try tracking in your neighborhood. I live out of town, and I’m always surprised how many different animals come into our yard in the evenings. See how many tracks you can identify and keep a journal of them.
Do you have a local ice skating rink? Ice skating is a lot like riding a bike, if you loved it as a kid, try it again as an adult. You don’t have to do anything fancy, just skate in circles if you want. If you have kids, they’ll be thrilled to have you skate with them.
Keep your winter gear in a place that’s close to your front door so that you don’t have to dig out your warm clothes when you want to go outside for a while. This will make it easier for you do incorporate outdoor activity into your daily routine. Try to get out for as long as you can, whether it’s for an hour, or only ten minutes. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel at the end of the day. And don’t forget to protect your skin in the wintertime too. So get out there and enjoy the winter!