Sunday, July 22, 2018 Elyria 66°
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Outdoors

Remember: Nature doesn't stop because the temperatures drop

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    Hikers walk by an icy rim at Hocking Hills State Park in Logan County.

    ODNR FILE PHOTO

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    The Bur Oak Trail at Goll Woods in Fulton County remains open for use during the winter.

    ODNR FILE PHOTO

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For the first time in a few years we had a white Christmas across Northeast Ohio. While some don’t like the snow, I guess we can be thankful we don’t live in Erie, Pa., where they’ve seen over 50 inches of snow this week. We’ve also been exposed to some extreme cold temperatures and a subzero windchill.

As the seasons change, so do the outdoor activities. Many people go into hibernation and, with single-digit temperatures this past week, I admittedly did the same.

Sitting by the fire with the dogs was about the only activity I could muster post-Christmas as I’ve grown a bit soft to the cold, especially with the last two winters being relatively mild in terms of snowfall and temperature.

As brutal as it may seem, winter does provide many outdoor activities and opportunities which encourage us to embrace the season instead of dreading it. Obviously, going out in conditions like the last few days with highs of around 15 degrees with a negative wind chill is not something I am advocating. But on a warmer day (near or above freezing) with the sun shining, there are lots of hikes, snowshoe trails and other opportunities to get outside.

The Lorain County Metroparks have a wide array of activities for those looking to get outdoors. Some of these include guided snowshoe hikes, bird watching, a winter tree identification class, to name just a few.

A full list of events and details can be found at Metroparks.cc.

If you’re not looking for something organized, there are plenty of trails to snowshoe, cross country ski and hike throughout the winter months on your own.

For the birding enthusiast, bald eagles should be laying their eggs around the end of January. Those wishing to get a glimpse of the United States’ emblem bird can do so at Sandy Ridge Reservation where eagles have been nesting since 2002. It’s been incredible to see the resurgence of this bird across our area and the population from Sandy Ridge has fledged eagles every year except 2009.

We may have some ice this year for those looking to go ice fishing. It remains to be seen if the ice will get thick enough to safely ice fish, but that opportunity could present itself should these cold temperatures remain throughout our region.

For those wishing to stay inside, fly tying has become increasingly popular over the last few years, with shops like Orvis at Crocker Park and The Backpackers’ Shop in Sheffield having events where you can tie flies across all different skill levels. Those will be starting up after the new year. You can contact each individual shop for times and details.

Whatever you find yourself doing this winter, don’t use the weather an an excuse to stay in and watch TV. Some days, the tube comes as a nice respite, but there are opportunities outside and our local Metroparks gives us plentiful resources.

Hoping all of you had the best of holidays and wishing you all the best in health and outdoor pursuits as we enter the new year.

Contact Brad Zahar at bzaharoutdoors@gmail.com.

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