A Perfect Winter's Sunday

Good morning, and Happy Monday! Another week is here and I'm ready. After last week's hecticness, I was finally able to get everything done over the weekend. In addition, I got to relax and spend time with both of my kids, in nature no less! I'd say that makes the perfect scenario for a good weekend.

Saturday I caught up on all the work I needed to get done, as well as wrapped up another chapter of The Box. I managed to have some time to relax and get to bed early. Sunday, then, I was raring to go. I got some writing done, and when The Teen came home, he announced he wanted to go hiking. Nature Girl and I were already planning on doing just that, so his timing was right on.

We headed out to Hitchcock Nature Center, where we started out on the boardwalk trail. I know many people who don't like to hike/walk out in nature during the Winter. The absence of colorful foliage discourages many from getting outdoors, but I love it. The stark contrast of color stands out, and the lack of foliage means that one can see for miles in a place such as this. Nothing deters me though, as I see beauty in nature everywhere. 

One of many trails that can be seen from the boardwalk trail. They aren't normally very visible in the warmer months because of the foliage.

The Teen and Nature Girl spend some time together and admire nature around them.

When we first arrived, the Sun was partially hidden behind the clouds and the temperature was 27 degrees F. By the time we got off the boardwalk trail, it had risen to 31 degrees F.

I used my nice camera on the boardwalk, but when we reached the end of it, we delved deeper into the forest. It's not feasible to lug around a big camera, so I put it away in my backpack.

After a chilly but vigorous 2.5-mile hike, we drove over to the Visitor's Lodge. The Lodge has an enormous deck that provides one with stunning views from high up in the Iowa Mountains (Loess Hills). Even in Winter, the view is incredible.

While I've taken and posted dozens of photos from HNC from every season, I've never really shown you what it looks like inside the Lodge. It's a great place for kids to learn about the Loess Hills and the various raptors that visit here.

I usually park myself here, on the large, dominant fireplace, while Nature Girl plays over in the kid's nook. The Teen took advantage of the comfy bean bags to relax and text his friends.

It was so nice to finally get back to normal this weekend, and indulge in my favorite activities, particularly hiking. For me, nothing brings balance to my life like time spent in nature. Hiking does, not only wonders for my physical health, but for my mental health as well. A good hike through the woods is the ultimate way for me to bring myself back to center.

I hope you had a good weekend as well, and that your Monday is the start of a great week.



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