Usually a synonym for “not fun.” In this case however, it is good for you and it is fun, engaging and can generally brighten your day. And did I mention it is free? Just because winter is approaching, you don’t have to den up. Try bundling up and heading outside instead. I know. I know. Some of you are thinking “why would I want to do that?” Refer back to that second sentence.
Short answer, no. Go on an animal sign hunt. Tracks, traces, chew marks and a good place to sleep if you were an animal are all things to hunt for. Got a young person in your life? When they think they have found a place that will keep an animal warm, try taking a small container of hot gelatin and place it carefully in their chosen den site. Keep track of how long till the gelatin sets. Try several different places. What a great science project! Let them practice the alphabet using bird seed then watch and listen for the appreciation from the snow birds, cardinals, goldfinches and in our area, pine siskins. And speaking of birds, how about making some homemade suet ornaments for the trees outside? Clean out the cabinet of that old peanut butter, raisins and cereal. The birds will love it! But of course you don’t have to do a thing on your hike. You can just walk and appreciate the sounds of water dropping off a leaf, a crow scolding you for interrupting his thoughts or the “ploofff” of a pile of snow falling to the ground from a limb high up in the pines. Experiences like this leave you with a smile on your face while you drink that cup of hot chocolate upon your return.
Exercise. We all know we should do it and most of us don’t get enough of it. A good brisk 30 minute walk can do wonders for you - for your heart health and for your mental health. With the shorter days in winter, many folks tend to get in a funk and just don’t want to do anything. In front of a video game with a bag of chips doesn't count. We all know that getting started is the hardest part but it pays off big! Get a buddy to go with. Doesn’t even have to be the same species! My dog and I started walking the trails at Twin Pines every time I have a day off. She is always so excited and I can’t help laughing at her when she climbs through every drain pipe. There is another of those “brings a smile to your face” moments that nature is so full of.
If you are anywhere close to Twin Pines, you are most welcome to come hike our trails. We have nearly three miles of easy to moderate trails with things to do on each. A tree ID trail, a self-guided naturalist hike or if you want off the beaten path, we have 7 geocaches on site. Twin Pines a little too far? How about Lick Log trail, Peck Ranch, Rocky Creek or any number of other conservation areas closer to your home. Check out the Places to Go section below. You can select by county, region, or feature. Those IT guys made it really easy to discover nature! However you choose to spend the time outside, it really is good for you!