The calendar says it’s a few days before winter officially begins, but here in East Central Wisconsin it already looks and feels a lot like winter. A few short weeks ago, there was no snow on the ground, and temperatures were still in the mid-forties. Then like turning on a light switch, temperatures have dropped, and there is almost a foot of snow on the ground. Many people dread winter, with its short days, cold temperatures, blustery winds, and deep snow, but many others have been waiting all year for the snow to come back. Here in Wisconsin, there is a plethora of outdoor winter activities for enthusiasts to enjoy.
Hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are some of the great ways to get out and enjoy nature in winter. Other than the crunch of the snow under your boots or snowshoes, or the swishing sound your skis make as you glide through the snow, these stealthy modes of transportation allow you to take your time, and enjoy all the sights and sounds that nature has to offer. Quietly trekking through a snow filled woods soon after a fresh snow fall, not only might you see some wildlife but the snow-covered trees make an awesome sight to behold. There are many miles of trails dedicated to these types of winter activities located on public lands throughout Wisconsin.
Snowshoeing or cross country skiing sound a little too slow paced for you? Do not fear, Wisconsin also offers faster paced winter fun too. Although maybe not the most peaceful winter pastime, riding snowmobiles is an excellent way to take in the beautiful snow covered scenery. With many hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails throughout the state you could literally ride for days on end. There are many hotels and resorts in the northern part of Wisconsin that cater to snowmobile enthusiasts. There is also downhill skiing, snowboarding, sledding and tubing, with ski hills located within a couple hours drive for nearly everyone in the state.
For the anglers, Wisconsin has some great ice fishing opportunities. Although the ice in most areas is not yet thick enough, soon many people will be venturing out on the frozen lakes to try and catch some panfish, pike, and walleye. If you prefer going after furbearers rather than fish, hunters and trappers have a few more weeks to fill their tags as many of Wisconsin’s hunting and trapping seasons are open into January and February.
I’ve only touched on a few of the many great winter pursuits that get you outside and help to keep you active during the winter months, and there are many more to choose from. So whatever it is that you enjoy doing in winter, make sure you include some time to get outside and enjoy nature!