Feeling like our long, harsh and drawn-out winter will never end?? Us too. If the amount of snow on the ground is any indication of how long off spring is (and how much mud is under there), we’re bracing ourselves.
We have had snow storms, ice storms, rain storms, frigid temperatures, and many school cancellations. BUT, In spite of the long winter we’ve managed to fit in some fun including sleeping in an igloo in our backyard and snowshoeing to a yurt with family. That said, I have never been so eager for sunshine and a change of scenery.
In anticipation of spring I wanted to share 5 tips that help us to get outside during this sometimes-odd transition time. Spring tends to be full of surprises! It is usually the most unpredictable season in our part of the woods and with that comes some trickiness of how to get out and enjoy this time of year.
Here are 5 tips to help your family adventure outside during this time awkward adventure time.
- All Gear Out: My first tip for the mucky season is to resist the temptation to put everything away. It is tempting to want to put winter coats, socks, gloves, hats, skis, snowshoes, sleds etc. up in the attic. We often rationalize that there should be no need for this extra gear by March or April. This rationalization along with a feeling of urgency to do spring cleaning can result in gear you might need being tucked away too soon. One of my rules for the muck season is to leave all gear accessible. In our main entry area, I switch out winter boots for rain boots and winter coats for rain jackets. But instead of tucking all our winter gear out of sight I put it in a transition spot where it can still be easily accessed. This helps in a few ways. First, it allows quick access to the gear without having the gear overwhelm our small entryway space. Additionally, I am better prepared for any and all weather even in a moment’s notice. If we are planning a hiking trip in higher elevations where there might be snow then it’s easy for me to throw in some of our snow gear or if I’m planning a camping trip where it might be cold at night I still have access to our warm base layers.
- Plan According to the Forecast: Instead of planning a fun trip only to have it ruined by a late season snow storm or rainy weather, build your fun around the forecast. There’s nothing more frustrating than planning a trip only to have it ruined by the weather or to go on that trip and leave thinking “our family will never go camping again”. I know the antsy feeling that comes as you anticipate warmer weather to start planning outdoor adventures, but remember spring provides all types of weather. During the spring we try to have flexible plans and take advantage of whatever the weather brings us. This allows for less frustration with the season and more enjoyment and time outside. For example, a windy spring day is the perfect time to fly a kite. If rain is in the forecast, you can go puddle jumping. If it’s 65 degrees and sunny plan a camping or canoe trip. If it’s a clear, cold night plan to bundle up and go star gazing. If you experience a late season snow storm plan a spring skiing or snowshoe trip.
- Trail Change Up: If hiking up to your knees in mud or coming home after a bike ride looking like you should go through the car wash isn’t your idea of fun, then change up your usual route. Leave the muddy trails behind for asphalt and sidewalk paths. You can take advantage of walking in your own neighborhood or running through historic neighborhoods in your area. Go on a walk downtown to check out a new shop or restaurant. Meander through an area that has interesting architecture or landscaping. It’s an opportunity to explore new places and still get some Vitamin D.
- Springtime Service: If winter has had you in a funk then there’s nothing like getting outside in the community during springtime to put you in a better mood. Whether you participate in an organized project through your church or community or coordinate something within your own family, the slushy season can be the perfect time to lend a helping hand. Adopt a trail or join a community clean-up day. Help an elderly neighbor prep their yard for spring or see if your food bank has a food drive run/walk to gather food. Take it upon yourself to pick up trash on your local walking trail or help prepare a community garden for planting.
- Embrace the change: The changing of seasons is so exciting and there is so much to observe and appreciate in this beautiful world. I love watching the trees bud and the different smells as everything blossoms. I marvel at birds as they prepare their nests and geese as they fly overhead.
Bring on the slosh, slush, mud, and muck!
Stephanie is a South Idaho native but currently lives in Columbia, MO with her husband, Jayson, and gang of girls—Clara (6), Mckinlay (4), and Ruth (1). As a family of 5 they enjoy biking, hiking, skiing, camping, traveling, backpacking and being silly. Like many others they’re trying to balance the complexities of work and family life. They’ve found that time slows down when they’re outside adventuring together and appreciate the simplicity and beauty they find there. Find them on their brand new Instagram: @switchbacksandsingletracks
© 2019, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.