Happy Outdoor New Year!

By Thea

Boy, do we wish there was more snow on the ground! This weekend we had over 50 phone calls asking if we were checking out our snowshoes and cross-country skis. We wish we could, but our gages say we have just over an inch of snow on the ground. Sadly, that’s just not enough.

Remember when you played outside in the snow? My daughter is sick of hearing my “when I was a kid” stories over the holiday break, but some of the staff at The Outdoor Campus and I want to share some of our favorite snowy memories. We’d love to hear yours, too.

What kind of tracks are these?
What kind of tracks are these?

Our secretary, Rachel, loves snowy days outdoors: “One of my favorite things to do after a snowfall is to look for tracks in the snow! Tracks are fun to find because they tell a story. I love trying to figure out what animal had been in that spot and what they may have been doing.”

Naturalist Sandy has a fun memory from growing up in Illinois: “I remember one year when we got about a half-inch of freezing rain on top of 6 inches of snow. The rain formed a thick crust on top of the snow and made everything extremely slippery. My brothers and sisters and I went outside with our sneakers on and went “ice skating” in the front yard … and pretty much everywhere else too.”

Brittany's snow-loving dog, Dually.
Brittany’s snow-loving dog, Dually.

Naturalist intern Brittany Krenz loves winter for a different reason: “I get excited when I hear that it is going to snow because I love how excited my dog gets when he sees snow; he jumps up and down in the snow, he rolls around in the snow till he is completely white, and his favorite thing to do with snow is to catch snow balls in his mouth!”

Intern Lucas Smith has a snowy hunting story: “When I was 15 my grandfather and I went deer hunting after a heavy snowfall and I was lucky enough to harvest a buck. However, the deer was down way back in the sticks where it would take my younger self and 75-year-old Pappy a week to drag out. We decided to hop in his old four-wheel drive Blazer and retrieve my bounty. I bet we got stuck at least 15 times in the deep snow! Everytime, we would get out the shovels and eventually break free. We did end up getting the deer after several hours of hard work and a few curse words. Now that Grandpa has passed, I often think back on that snowy venture with fond memories and a laugh.”

Thea, outside in the hat she hated. (It was itchy.)
Thea, outside in the hat she hated. (It was itchy.)

Thea: “We built giant snow forts in our front yard, then helped the neighbor kids build them in their yards. We’d have a whole winter full of snowball wars using those forts. They were always the last thing to melt in the spring.”