Full moons make hiking more appealing, even in January.
Tonight, ODNR Naturalist Carol G. Ward leads a hike under the just-past-full wolf moon. Ward is full of knowledge, love and enthusiasm for the outdoors and especially Cleveland’s natural resources. Treat your family to a little outdoor fitness and a whole new appreciation for the North Coast. Dress everyone in lots of layers and meet at Wildwood Park’s Villa Angela Beach Park entrance at 7pm tonight, January 21. The hike is slated from 7pm-8:30pm. Wildwood/Villa Angela is located at 16975 Wildwood Drive, Cleveland, OH 44110.
For details and directions, click here: ‘http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/clevelkf/tabid/721/Default.aspx
On Saturday, visit North Chagrin Reservation and Hike to the Overlook. The short hike will feature beautiful scenery and turn your attention to the critters that are surprisingly active in spite of the chill in the air (or ice on the water). Plants, too, are preparing for spring; when you know what to look for, you’ll spot many signs of their activity, too. Visitors also have a chance to hand-feed chickadees and other birds who overcome their shyness to get the seed they need.
Find more info and other hiking opportunities here: http://www.clemetparks.com/events/programs/months_progs.asp#22
Why hike in the winter, especially in Cleveland?
Hiking in the winter doesn’t have to be miserable. When you’re properly dressed, even the coldest weather shouldn’t deter you from getting some exercise outdoors. And you’ll be rewarded in many ways. First, you’ll realize that many animals don’t hibernate (and humans shouldn’t!) and wildlife is less timid when the trails are less travelled, so you’ll probably see many animals in the winter that you won’t during more “comfortable” weather.
Hiking in the winter is a great habit to foster in your family, too. There are only so many warm-weather months in Cleveland; if you allow your kids to hide inside all winter, they’ll miss a great deal of beauty and fun.
Of course there’s an exercise component. Hiking (especially in the winter) is a great way to get your heart rate up and even if you’re hiking a shorter distance, you may burn more calories just because of the extra exertion required to move your boots through the snow. If your family agrees that winter hiking sounds cool but it’s hard to warm up to the idea of trudging through the white stuff, know this – a few paved trails do get plowed! One that offers several miles of great scenery and moderate hills is the all-purpose trail at Sand Run Metropark (Cuyahoga Falls in Summit County).
Finally, winter hiking goes beyond basic exercise and can provide a huge boost to your overall fitness. Again and again, research has shown that getting into the sunshine (even what little appears to be available under gray skies) is a sure way to lessen the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder and combat the more general “blahs” that can set in during the season’s colder, darker days.
Remember Dory’s mantra from the animated movie Finding Nemo? “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” she said. (Smart fish!) Like swimming, hiking can be a lifelong fitness activity.
Give your family a good start and get everyone outside for a few hikes this winter. Check various park calendars for fun programs that can provide a little extra motivation, and pack a thermos of hot chocolate if you must. Then just keep hiking, just keep hiking.
Mark your calendars now for a fun family fitness outing: the Winter Photo Safari and Backyard Bird Count, Sunday February 20, at the not-always-open-to-the-public Dike 14.
More info about the event can be found here: http://www.clevelandlakefront.org/NaturalistPrograms.html