The leaves have all fallen,
the sun sets early now,
winter will soon be upon us.
As the sky sheds it's first flakes of snow, your first instinct may be to lock yourself inside with a warm cup of tea and put away your hiking boots until spring. Do not do this! (except maybe the tea, yum!)
Hiking in the winter can be just as enjoyable as any other time as long as you are properly dressed and prepared for any and all the elements.
Honestly, until the past few years I dreaded winter, I hated not being outside, I felt my body deteriorating due to lack of physical activity (sure I could go to the gym but ugh), the lack of natural light would stoke the flames of winter depression, but most of all I could not stand being cold.
All of these problems I was able to fix in one easy step.... dressing properly for the outdoors!
Once I made this one little change, winter was no longer a daunting task; being outside, getting my muscles moving, enjoying the sharp winter sun, all helped alleviate the seasonal depression. Before I knew it I was enjoying winter hiking just as much as summer. Winter posed a challenge to me, all the trails I could fly through in the warm months were once again challenging, I had to push myself physically and mentally through drifts of snow, up icy hills, down steep slopes.
Tips for safely enjoying winter hiking.
And just like that we arrived in the heart of autumn.
Observations: Sunny, mid 60s
Trees are mostly bare - only the beech and the upper canopy of the oaks are still holding leaves.
All around the sound of crunchy leaves falling on crunchy leaves. I had to turn around numerous times to see if someone was walking behind me (crunch crunch) but it was always just the sounds of the leaves falling.
This is the time of year when you can use your nose to determine what type of forest you're in - how different the oak dominated woods smell from the maple dominated from the beech dominated. Follow your nose down the path.
Looking around, all that remains green are the evergreen forbs - the cat brier, the avens, the Christmas ferns.
Nuthatches and squirrels join the chorus of falling leaves - a seasonal soundtrack
Best bird sighting happened right at the hickory tree in the photo. A brown creeper darted up and around the trunk!
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.