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An Illinois River Almanac

Jason Haupt's Energy and Environment Blog
Snowy Owl

Winter has Arrived

I feel like it has been a very long time since we have had a truly cold winter. Last winter was so mild I think we all forgot what a real winter feels like in Illinois. And the way that November and most of December felt like I think we all thought that we were going to get away with a second mild winter. However, winter is here and it feels like it is making up for the past couple of years.

Winter is bleak and dreary but there is some true beauty in winter as well. Particularly when there is snow on the ground. Though the past couple of weeks have made it difficult to imagine being outside for more than a few seconds there are some absolutely wonderful things to do in the winter.

  1. Go for a snow hike. In my mind, there are few things more beautiful than the woods when there is snow on the ground (or better yet when it is snowing). The woods are so quiet when there is snow on the ground and there is so much beauty in the monochromatic landscape. Try and track some of the critters that we have in our woods in the winter, take a camera and try your hand at some photography or just enjoy the quiet of the woods.
  2. Go Skiing. I know what you are thinking. This is Illinois one of the flattest states, but there is more than just downhill skiing. Cross-country skiing is a great way to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, and maybe try something new. Is Cross-country skiing too daunting? You could also try snowshoeing.
  3. Go to a State Park. There are a number of spectacular places to see how beautiful nature can be in winter. Taking a hike at places like Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks will reward you with frozen waterfalls and a great opportunity to see some eagles on the Illinois River. Illini State Park offers an outdoor skating pool, as well as hiking and other winter sports. Mississippi Palisades offers some spectacular views and also the opportunity to see eagles along the mighty Mississippi. There is no better time to see the animals at Wildlife Prairie Park. The animals are active and easily spotted in the snow.

Though it is cold outside now that does not mean that you cannot enjoy nature. Bundle up and go on a winter adventure in your backyard.

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