Make it a habit to get outdoors, no matter what the weather!

Winter smile (Photo by Amanda Cashin Photography)

Winter smile (Photo by Amanda Cashin Photography)

December 31, 2013 | by Amanda Cashin

So, it’s a little chilly? That’s no reason to stay indoors. I make it a point to stay connected with nature year round. In fact, I enjoy being outdoors for a hike more in the winter than in any other time of year. Here are my top 11 reasons why I love winter hiking:

    1. No bugs! Okay, I'll admit: I do miss the dragonflies, and watching the bees pollinate our planet. But I don't miss the buzzing mosquitoes, relentless black flies, sneaky ticks and surprise hornet nests.
    2. Chickadee (Photo by Amanda Cashin Photography)

      Chickadee (Photo by Amanda Cashin Photography)

    3. The likelihood of stumbling upon a bear mid-trail is slimmer in winter. They are tucked snugly away, waiting for spring. I would be both honoured and terrified to cross a bear's path in the middle of a forest trail, and am happy to decrease my odds this time of year.
    4. While the bears are sleeping, other animals are still out and about — and in the winter there is a better chance to witness their existence. Animal tracks are more easily seen in the snow, and visibility through the trees is increased because of the bare branches.
    5. Because the trees are bare of leaves, those shy little birds have fewer places to hide, and they too are easier to spot.
    6. I'm warm when everyone else is chilly. Trudging through snow is a great workout. Halfway through a hike I usually end up with my warm winter coat tied around my waist. And when not warm from a little cardio workout, the shelter of the trees keeps me warmer than say, a wide open parking lot in the city.
    7. My sinuses are clear and I can breath crisp clean air deep into my lungs. No pollen, no humidity, just crisp clear air during a time of year when my allergies are stifled.
    8. Winter bud (Photo by Amanda Cashin Photography)

      Winter bud (Photo by Amanda Cashin Photography)

      There is no other time of year when the forest feels so still and peaceful. If you have never experienced the tranquility of being surrounded by trees while listening to the snow falling in the still winter air — stop reading this right now and get outdoors onto a forest trail!
    9. Oh're familiar with the serenity of winter forests. Then you know, with everything underfoot frozen, hiking in the winter is the least messy — no mucky mud to cross, and no wet pools to maneuver over — both are neatly frozen beneath my hiking boots.
    10. It isn't too hot for a steamy Epsom salt bath when I get home from my hike. I dare you to try to soothe your sore muscles with a hot bath on a humid day in August. But in winter, a post-hike bath is pure bliss.
    11. There are more fun things to do on a trail in winter. You can't build a snowman, make a snow angel, or have a snowball fight in July!
    12. And finally, because everything tastes better outdoors mixed with the smell of balsam and pine needles, a sturdy thermos filled with piping hot cocoa to warm me in the chilly air is my final reason. Hmmm...Maybe that reason should be at the top of the list.

    Do you have any favorite reasons for enjoying the outdoors in the winter? Email us at!

    Amanda Cashin (Photo courtesy of Amanda Cashin)

    About the Author

    Amanda Cashin is an enthusiastic blogger from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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