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Virginia State Parks in the winter–there is lots do to!

From Virginia State Parks:

How to Enjoy Parks in Winter

By Guest BloggerPosted January 13, 2023

 

Shared by Tanya Hall, as Guest Blogger.

Even though the solstice has passed and days are gradually getting longer, we still have a few months of winter to get through. How can we make the most of the season?
I am an outdoor person. I love to hike different trails or bike different paths. I love sitting outside and listening to the birds while I read a book as the warm sunshine warms my back… eeeeerrrrrkkkkk (imagine a record being stopped very quickly here!) It’s winter. It’s cold, snowy, rainy, dreary. I feel like the sun doesn’t come out for days. What am I going to do now? Sitting here in my recliner, I came up with a few ideas for how to spend my next few weeks.

I am going to:

Take a hike. Hiking trails are so different at this time of year. The views are new since there are no leaves on the trees to hide the amazing vistas. Listen and see if you can hear different bird sounds and small noises made by the many birds migrating through. Get more familiar with our resident birds, like the brightly colored northern cardinal, the raucous mimicking of the blue jay, the white splashes on the tail feathers of the dark-eyed junco or the loud fussing of the Carolina wren.

Play “I spy” with yourself or with a child or friend. Look up into the treetops or get down and look at ground level. Find the animal tracks in the mud or the snow. Many animals don’t leave the area for winter, and most don’t hibernate all season long. This is the perfect time to spy deer rubs, bear scratches, half-eaten nuts, breathing holes of mammals underground and other animal signs.

Ranger Hall searching for animal tracks

Ranger Hall is searching for animal tracks at Hungry Mother State Park.

Create a nature craft. You can find many nature-inspired craft books and great ideas on Pinterest. Get creative and create fun nature gifts for friends, family or wildlife. Use materials you find on the ground, but please don’t pick, pull or cut down any living materials, especially in a park. Gather stuff around your house and repurpose these items into new masterpieces. Tree cookiesnature weaving, and pinecone decoration are a few of the activities you could try. What else can you create?

Winter themed nature crafts.

Winter-themed nature crafts. 

Play in the snow or the cold weather. Get out and enjoy this time of year and all the activities you can only do in winter. The more your body is out in the cold, the quicker it will acclimate, and you won’t feel so cold. Go sledding, ice skating, snowboarding, snowshoeing or skiing. Make a snow angel or see who can hike the furthest in deep snow. Build a snowman in each of your neighbors’ yards so the snowmen have someone to talk to each night after you go to bed. Just play!

Sledding at Hungry Mother

Go sledding at Hungry Mother State Park.

Read that new book. As I wrote earlier, I like to sit outside and read when it is sunny. Gather up campfire materials, a warm blanket and a good book. Build yourself a campfire, bundle up in the blanket and settle in to lose yourself in a great story as you enjoy the outdoors.

Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean nature’s gone anywhere. She just looks and feels a little different. Get outside, get dirty and stay healthy. Remember to layer clothing for warmth and always take water — that’s as important in winter as it is in summer. Visit your nearest state park or hang out in your backyard doing a few of these fun activities. Before you know it, winter will be over, and in summer’s heat, we will wish for snow once again.

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