The older I get, the more I like winter, especially hiking in the winter. For one thing, it’s so hot in Atlanta in the summer that it feels like you could melt into a puddle right in the middle of the trail. There are only so many clothes you can take off. In the winter, you pile on the layers and head outside. After a few minutes of walking, you warm up and you’re snug as a bug in a rug. To me, that first few minutes of being chilly is far preferable to the sweltering heat of summer that I never seem to acclimate to.
I dragged my daughter on a nature hike the other day, just under 2 miles, more of a stroll really. We went to a park we frequent that has wooded trails and large open fields full of grasses and wildflowers.
I find this particular spot prettier and more interesting in the winter when everything has gone brown. There are all kinds of interesting seed pods to investigate, the bare trees look beautiful against the gray sky, and the landscape is still and quiet.
My daughter found an owl pellet, which is a treasure. We picked it apart with a stick and found the upper and lower jaws of some tiny rodent, his little yellow teeth still intact.
There are less people out and about in the winter, so I find that we come across these sorts of treasures more often in winter than in the warmer months.
After initially being dragged on the expedition, my daughter quickly started observing all the interesting things around us (like a tree with blue berries, probably a bayberry), the owl pellet on the ground, and the way the various grasses looked in winter. Sometimes I have to drag my kids kicking and screaming on these outdoor adventures, but they always end up having a good time.