Winter's Glory

For the first time in many years, we've finally succumbed to a true winter. We haven't seen this much snowfall in years and, to be quite honest, I love it. Yes, I'm admitting that I actually like snow. I know that comes as a shock considering how I've complained about winter and the cold for the last several winters running. Well, things are different this year.

Now that I've committed myself to get outside no matter the weather; to walk, hike, or just go do things, I have rediscovered a love of all seasons. I've always loved Spring and Fall best - and I've come to appreciate the hot, humid, bug-filled Summers - but Winter is now squarely third on my list of favorite seasons.

I still walk back and forth to work almost every single day, but I try to get out once each weekend for a hike. I've learned a few things about hiking in the Winter, that's for sure.

If the weather is warm enough for the snow to be soft and wet, hiking in it is akin to hiking in sand. It's difficult, treacherous, and quite the workout.

But, regardless, hiking in the Winter, while cold, is breathtaking (sometimes literally).

The previous four pictures were taken out at Hitchcock Nature Center, over in my beloved Iowa Mountains. This picture, and the following three, were taken at my favorite hiking spot: Neale Woods, which sits in the Ponca Hills.

From the Neale Woods viewing platform, you can see the Loess Hills aka the Iowa Mountains, in the distance.

I love how the light in this picture shines lightly through the dark trees, creating a gorgeous contrast.

This picture, and the following three, were taken out at Schramm State RA. The full hike is a solid three miles, so makes for a quick, easy hike. The sun was brighter this day, making is seem more cheerful than dreary.

I love the suspension bridge. 

Animal tracks.

Schramm is unique in that it used to be a fish hatchery. While it isn't anymore, it still has all the hatchery ponds, a geological rock wall, a museum, and plenty of geese who hang out in the ponds.

It's nice to be one with my home and get out in it in every season. Being outside in Winter again reminds me of all the fun times I had growing up as a kid. All those snow forts, sledding, ice skating, and trudging through the forest with my friends or my dad...fond memories. Enjoy your Winter, I know I sure am!


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