Night Hikes!

Okay. We all know it gets dark early during winter, making it difficult to to lots of outdoor activities after work. Of course ski slopes are lighted, so downhill skiing is an option. But, what about a night hike?

During winter, the trees are laid bare, abandoned by those fair weather friends, the leaves. This allows moonlight to penetrate to the forest floor. On nights with a full moon, the effect is transformative. Instead of a dark, shady hike, winter night hikes under a full moon are magically alive and bright.

Try it and you will be surprised. Don’t use a flashlight. Just let your eyes adjust and get out in the woods. If you are reticent to try it alone, join an organized hike. Here are two upcoming full moon hikes being held at Cuyahoga Valley National Park:

Saturday, January 30
This easy 3.75-mile hike on the Valley and Towpath trails will begin at the Everett Road Covered Bridge at 7 p.m. and end at approximately 8:45 p.m.

Sunday, February 28
Another easy 3.5-mile hike on the Towpath Trail between Boston and Red Lock will depart from Boston Store Visitor Center and runs from 7 – 8:45 p.m.

 

7 Reasons to visit a park during Winter


Don’t be a fair weather outdoorsman. Instead of being a wintertime couch potato, get outside and enjoy these extraordinary benefits:

Feel good
Getting outdoors and exploring nature provides an opportunity to exercise. Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you feel better. What better cure for the wintertime blues?

Enjoy solitude
Witness the peaceful majesty of the winter landscape. By being one of the brave few that opt for a hike on snow covered trails, you will experience a unique solitude that is rarely possible at other times of the year.

Escape to another world
A snow covered landscape can impart an otherworldly feeling that may take you back to childhood or it might instill thoughts of places like Alaska or Antarctica. Icicle encrusted cliffs are particularly great places to visit during the winter for the feel of a real magic kingdom.

See more
During the dormant season, deciduous trees are bare and most ground cover has died back. This allows hikers to get longer views of the landscape, and sometimes reveals hidden gems, like glimpses of far off waterfalls, or cloistered little ravines that escape notice during greener times of the year. Go to a familiar landscape during winter and look upon it with new eyes. You just might like what you see.

Winter Tracking
What better way to learn or practice your tracking skills? Follow a deer through its daily routine. Creep along the path of a raccoon. It is much easier to track animals further with a nice blanket of snow.

Winter Tree Identification
Want a real challenge? Impress you friends by taking them on a winter hike and identify trees by their bark or twigs. It isn’t that hard when you know what to look for. And you can exercise your brain and body at the same time.

Sledding!
So much for the solitude listed above! Sometimes Nature appears to be chaotic. No where can that aspect of Nature be more apparent than on a busy sledding hill. With or without kids, there is no excuse to get out the old toboggan or sled and head to the nearest snow covered hill. That exhilarating rush that comes from gliding down a hill nearly out of control can’t be beat.

 

More evidence that Nature is good for you and not just an extra.

I found this article on the Beacon Journal’s web site and thought I’d share it: Ohio.com – Plants can boost health and spirits in '10: “reduced negative emotions, increased positive feelings, increased sociability and reduced need for health care.”

The article mainly discusses plants and gardens, but there is also a bit about proximity to green space. Take a look and then think about this. We complain about raising health care premiums while there is a way (exposure to nature) to reduce recovery times by large percentages. We worry about the supposed obesity epidemic when one part of a cure is nearly free (Get outside and hike!).

Some of the benefits of green space are felt simply by looking out the window. Think how much more valuable Nature is to people who actually go outdoors and immerse themselves in reality for an hour a day.

While the beginning of the new year is not any different than any other day, maybe we can all use it as an excuse to commit to getting outside in a natural setting every day.

Think about how much better off you would be. If you have kids, start this habit for them right now. Your lives will be enriched beyond measure.

Get outside and enjoy the snow!

 

Experience trails in dormant season

Don’t just be a fair weather hiker! Check out this news article Akron Ohio News – Experience trails in dormant season then get outside and enjoy!

 

Ohio.com – Hikers hitting trails at parks

Metro Parks, Serving Summit County is getting its annual fall hiking spree underway. Get out and join the rest of northeast Ohio and enjoy nature along the great Metro Park trails. The hiking spree consists of thirteen designated trails. Hikers that complete 8 of the 13 trails earn either a hiking staff or a badge. (First year hikers get the staff, others get the badge to add to their existing hiking stick.)

Check the Metro Parks, Serving Summit County web site for a complete list of the hiking spree trails.

NeoNaturalist.com has reviewed several of the hiking spree trails. Check out these descriptions to see which trails are most interesting to you. Then, get outside and enjoy. If you want to complete the spree, you have until November 30.

 

Portage Park District Programs connect people to Nature!

Pre-registration Needed for Annual Bat Program

Come and learn about the secret lives of bats at the Portage Park District annual bat program on Friday August 14 at 8:45pm. We will meet at the Headwater’s Trail parking lot at the Rt. 700 trailhead in Hiram. Jessica Hickey from Davey Resources will demonstrate bat survey techniques and equipment, as well as share little known facts about these nocturnal creatures! Pre-registration is necessary. Please call the Park District office at 330-297-7728 or email dalber@portageparkdistrict.org to pre-register. For information, please visit www.portageparkdistrict.org.

Butterfly and Dragonfly Survey

Members of the North American Butterfly Association and Portage Park District staff and volunteers will be fluttering through the field and forest on Saturday, August 15 for the annual Butterfly and Dragonfly survey at Towner’s Woods Park in Franklin Township. The Park District is honored to have Judy Semroc as a guide for this activity, who, along with Larry Rosche and Linda Gilbert, have recently written a new book, the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeast Ohio, second edition. It is the comprehensive guide for species occurring in Ohio. Copies of the book are available for sale ($26.88, which includes tax) at www.ddneo.info.

Towner’s Woods is located at 2296 Ravenna Road, Franklin Township Directions: From SR 43, turn east onto Ravenna Rd., go 2 miles to the park entrance. short hike begins at 10:00 am, followed by a trail and field survey for these beautiful and delicate creatures. It is recommended that participants bring water to drink and wear closed toe shoes and comfortable clothing. Pants are recommended for the more adventurous, who may venture off the trails into the field areas.
For information, please visit www.portageparkdistrict.org. or call (330) 297-7728.