Around this time of year, you start to hear a lot of people moan about the winter. The Groundhog has everybody excited for spring. I hear it at work,” Winter sucks!” “I am tired of winter.” Well sports fans, the fact of the matter is that in North America, we have what is known as change of seasons. The summer is nice, the spring is welcome, the fall is beautiful, but if you are not involved in winter sports or activities, this can be a bad season for the uninitiated. But whether you ski or not, I think it is important to embrace the winter.
Take a look at the picture above of my wife Janet and me on our weekly Sunday snowshoe outing. You will notice a smile on her face as she is having a good time in the snow. This is something for a girl who would rather have her toes buried in warm sand somewhere looking at the ocean. Now I like that too, but Janet has learned over the years to embrace the winter and we have other activities besides skiing. Snowshoeing is a great one. You can get them on the internet or from LL Bean and actually go on introductory outings with LL Bean where they show you the finer points of snowshoeing with hot chocolate and treats afterwards. http://www.llbean.com You can do this activity at your local park, golf course, or even right out of your door. Six inches or more of snow is all you need for some real fun clomping through the snow drifts like a kid!!
A couple of weeks ago, we got together with some other couples and hit our local county park skating rink. Now many of us had not skated since high school but we all decided it would be fun and afterwards we came to our house where I lit up the outside fireplace and Janet made chili. Where else can you pay admission for 2 bucks and rent skates for 3 bucks. Great night, moon shining, snow glistening, cold ones and chili afterwards. Embrace the winter man!!!
For those of us who want to get aerobic exercise, don’t give up in the winter. There are lights by Nightsun, Nightrider, and Cree that you can use on your mountain bikes and ride the trails all winter. This will be the subject of a later post but suffice to say that if you are willing to wear some warm clothes and use the light, your riding season will be all year. Our local club the Pittsburgh Off Road Cyclists have weekly rides and the Lord of Lumens-Bob Bannon, will assist anyone who needs lights in the winter riding season. http://www.porcmtbikeclub.org You can use similar lights by Cree and Petzl available on the internet and local sporting goods stores that you can wear on your head. They are basically a headlight on a band that you wrap around your hat and you are good to go running trails all winter long. Why come home and hibernate under a blanket, eat yourself silly, and wait for The Biggest Loser to come on the boob tube. Get out there and get some exercise in the winter- you will sleep like a baby!!! Be The Biggest Winner!!!
How about tubing, or sledriding? I saw a couple the other day on our county golf course with a 1940’s vintage Flexible Flyer that was lacquered to perfection. The guy said his dad gave it to him and he and his wife were having a ball sledriding- all by themselves. I saw another guy while I was snowshoeing with my buddy John Staab who was an older guy on cross country skis making his way around the trails that surrounded the golf course. I greeted him and he replied “How are you there young fellah.” Now I have not been called young fellah for some time now but this guy was defintely older than I was and was flying on the xc equipment. Lots of golf courses, trails, and ski resorts have xc centers with trails that are maintained with track setters waiting for cross country skiers to use them. Now some people will tell you that they don’t have time,- kids, activities, games, etc. Where there is a will there is a way. You have to either get up at the butt crack of dawn and do it before work, or you bring all of your gear with you and make a deal with your spouse to do it several nights after work arranging it around work, games, practices,your wife’s schedule, and the like. Then share activities between you and your spouse on the weekends. Excuses just hold you back from enjoying life. Carpe Deium!!
One final embrace is just to go out in a softly falling snowstorm. My wife remarked how muffled everything sounded with the falling snow. The quiet overtakes you and if you stop, you can enjoy nature in the winter in its finest beauty. Sometimes you don’t have to do anything but enjoy the snow, the moon and the stars on a clear, cold winter night, or the brilliant Alpenglow of the mountains in the late afternoon. Just get out and walk and you can enjoy winter in all of it’s glory. Snow, sun, fresh air, mountains, trails, dormant golf courses, are waiting for you. Winter is great. Enjoy it!! Thanks for reading.
I believe he asks everyone at work to call him John “Yukon” Staab…:)
I really liked the last paragraph. You reminded me of one of my favorite parts of winter. Thanks for the post.
Thanks JR. If people would only enjoy the beauty and the stillness, they could see a part of the seasonal change that they would like. Thanks as always for your support.
Pat, I know you are not a dog person, but nothing makes me smile more than watching my dogs frolic around in the snow. It even motivates me to put on some cold gear and go walking with them.
That is great Chrissy. Even though I am not a dog person, I can surely respect that you like to get outside with them. I see a lot of dogs and their owners at Sewickley Heights Park- our hiking and snowshoeing venue.
I had a full bread Husky who loved snow. He would go out in our yard and stay there from morning until night on snowy days. He would only come in to eat. I would take him on walks behind our house which is by Cemetery lane in Ross Twp. There’s a lots of woods and he would just take off and run. Sometimes the only way to find him was to follow his tracks. He never got tired of the snow. Pat, I think you have Husky blood in your veins.
Bob- thanks for the comment. I hope you like the rest of the blog too. Yes- maybe there is some Husky in me. See you soon
pat my out door brother your post is right on the mark we live in a great area for all. You can enjoy anything and everthing all year round with just a little effort and the rewards are huge so much fun and the great people you meet and will be friends for life …you will not find this kind of joy in some bar
Hey Bill- long time no talk. Glad you like the blog and hope all is well with you. Thanks for being a follower. Just enter your E-Mail and be a follower by hitting the follow button.
Hey Pat, The really OLD guy was out in four inches of powder last
nite. ME. MTB, Lites, and a buddy. 8.4 (s)miles.
Good for you Nick. Thanks for responding to the post. Hope you willl be a follower by entering your E-Mail and hitting the follow button. You will get a notice when I post some new drivel. Ride on Nick!!!
We were supposed to get some winter powder last night here in the Chicago suburbs but only got a couple inches… I have my 3 year old grandson staying with me this weekend and was eager for some snow cover to hit the local hill for sledding with him. Now the weather is warming up in mid 30s so I think it’s all going to melt away. I am not against the winter activities but the climate is changing around here and winter isn’t what it used to be. As a child we had an ice rink in our back yard EVERY winter and skated whenever we weren’t otherwise needed in the house for homework or meals. Pool in the summer, Ice rink in the winter! Spent little time indoors and have very fond memories growing up! And Janet is right the sound or lack thereof as the snow is falling is one everyone should notice of…. it is one of my favorite blessings to partake in! Great picture of you both and love the post! God Bless
Thank you Julie. Hey- enjoy your grandson. That is funny about your childhood skating rink. My dad did the same thing. It was a blast and I do remember much more winter in those days. Oh well. We can enjoy what we can. Thanks for following. God bless you too!!:)
wonderful post pat! There is nothing better than a nice snowshoe through the woods outside our door. Nancy and i go a couple of times a week. Loved the flexible flyer story, we had a whole bunch of them in the neighborhood growing up. We would haul water from the nearby brook to ice up the track. It has been a wonderful snowy winter up here so far this year, and being off next week, Nancy and i will go on many outdoor adventures! Thanks again for the inspiring words!
Hutch- how I envy your lifestyle up in there in Vermont with Nancy Great area, great outdoor opportunities. Looking forward to skiing with you soon.
Great post Pat – was telling JR today what a beautiful run I had on the North Ridge last Sunday at NP – it was cold, 4 inches of new snow and a blue “Colorado” sky day. It was awesome – so still, quiet and calming. You’re so right – get up and out!! Thanks again!
Thanks Pete. People think I am crazy but I love the winter. Nothing like a run like you had. See you soon
Pat, I enjoy each of your posts and usually read them as soon as you publish them. I just stopped back at this post and read through the comments you received. I loved reading all of the different personal stories that you’re post generated! It is nice to read of everyone’s special pleasures captured via the outdoors. Thanks for the posts but I also appreciate the dialogue you are generating.
How true JR. Lots of good stuff. The comments are great and are even their own blog in their own right. So much fun doing this. Thanks for helping me with all of this
Great post Pat, you are a good writer. Might have to go out snowshoeing
Art- thanks so much. Thanks for following. Hope all is well in Vail. Posting another one tonight. Did you read the Heli one?
Pat , got another good one for you ,this week was gruling ,so we blasted over to north park light up a good fire and grilled out in the snow ,we had at one time 23 people come by and share food, storys ,and road around ,living the dream !
Thanks Bill. I posted a new one tonight. Keep riding man!!