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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Silent Walk

Silent Nature Walk Outdoor Hour Challenge @handbookofnaturestudyOutdoor Hour Challenge

Winter Silent Walk- from the archives

Thinking back on this challenge found in the archives, I remember well the day we accomplished it back in early 2012. My youngest son and I spent an afternoon hiking on our favorite trail but we hiked a distance apart so that we were not tempted to talk or share at all. Comparing our journals later, it brought into focus the idea that two people walking on the same trail can have completely different experiences.

If you can figure out a way to take a silent nature walk, see if you have the same results. Do your individual experiences match the groups? Do you observe things differently? Are you able to see and hear and feel more if you are silent as you walk?

My husband and I regularly take silent walks because we have realized there is a better chance of something catching our attention if we are not preoccupied with conversation. Also, I think the birds and animals don’t scatter as you come down the trail and many times you are able to see the squirrels, deer, etc or at least notice them as they move for cover as you draw near.

Use the suggestions in the archive challenge (or the idea for a Quiet Walk in December’s newsletter) for a variation of your normal nature study activities.

Leave me a comment if you have any success on your walk or you want to share an experience.

Winter Wonder walk journal

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter 2016 More Nature Study WinterThe winter series of challenges will start on January 13, 2017.

Family Seasons Nature Study Walk – Winter Edition

A week ago, our family took a trip up to the mountains to spend some time together and enjoy the beauty of an alpine lake. I thought this would be the perfect time to take a Seasonal Weather walk as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge. The weekend started off with rain, sunshine, and then rainbows. We actually saw a double rainbow a couple of times….amazing!

Boy, did we have weather! The rain turned to snow and dusted the landscape with clean bright snow. The ducks and geese in the lake didn’t seem to mind much. The clouds covered the mountains in the distance but left us with a pocket of sunshine to get out into and explore.
We would watch for the sun to come out, taking advantage of the time to warm up in the bright mountain sunshine and see some more rainbows.
The snow would really fall at times and we enjoyed the beauty of it…we didn’t have to go outside unless we wanted to do so. Mr. A met up with some friends and went snowboarding one of the days we were up at the lake….crazy teenage snowboarders. (Sorry Mr. T that you dislocated your shoulder.)
This was pretty much the pattern for our whole weekend…rainbows and sunshine…snowing in the distance.

One of the days we took a drive around the lake to a spot we like to hike at but the wind was blowing so very hard that just getting out of the car was difficult. This video is just showing how much the large pines were swaying back and forth in the gusts of wind…it also was really super loud just like on the video. Amazing power of the wind! We experienced 50 mph winds (gusts higher than that).

It was hard to even stand up in the blasts of wind….we ended up taking a short hike over to Fallen Leaf Lake where the waves were high enough you could have surfed. This lake is usually calm, flat, and crystal blue but on this day it looked more like the gray ocean. Mr. D bundled up against the wind…it really was that cold!

While we were up enjoying the lakes of the Sierra, back at home the rain gauge was getting filled up. We had to dump it since it was overflowing at 8 inches! There was flooding and our basement sump pump didn’t work once the power went off….wet floors and furniture. The phones were out for a week and so was our DSL. The weather really gave us something to talk about this past week…more than I anticipated.

There is still time for you to take your weather walk and share your experiences with all of us at the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Make sure to send in your blog entries for the up-coming OHC Blog Carnival (due date 12/30/12).

Winter Rain Walk in the Woods

Moss and Lichen on a Rock
Crustose lichen and moss

We had a rainstorm from Thursday to Monday which dropped more than eight inches of rain…forgot to dump my rain gauge so I don’t have an accurate total. The rain was so very refreshing and brought a measure of relief to my dry yard. I know we still need more rain but it is nice to have a break now to enjoy the sparkling air, the warm sunshine, and the revived plants and bushes.

Sunday we took advantage of a small break in the rain to walk to the river, probably about a mile’s hike. The woods there are mostly oaks with a few pines and a couple of old madrones. Madrones have such wonderfully smooth red bark and perfectly leaf-shaped leaves. They are not common enough for me to pass by without taking note of just what a pretty tree they are. I didn’t stop to take a photo of a madrone this time but I promise to next time we are on this particular trail.

Winter River Scene
Cold gray winter day at the river

The river was roaring down the canyon and we didn’t stay long to enjoy its beauty since we weren’t sure how long the rain was going to hold off. Besides, it was really cold…much colder than I expected and my fleece jacket really wasn’t enough.

Lichen and fungus
Foliose lichen and bracket fungus

We stopped along the trail coming back to inspect and appreciate the many colors and textures of the lichen on the tree trunks and rocks. Can I call the fungus beautiful too? It was.

Fruticose lichen

We made it back to the car and home just in time for it to pour rain again. I am glad we didn’t miss the chance to experience the winter rain in this little woods…it was quiet, green, and refreshing.

Interested in studying moss and lichen more? You can click over to read a past Outdoor Hour Challenge:
#42 Moss and Lichen