Skiing, sledding, snowshoeing are all fun outdoor activities during the winter season. But, what do you do when the mercury has dropped but there's no snow in the forecast? No problem! There are plenty of activities to participate in during the winter months even if there's no snow on the ground. Put on your warm layers, boots, hats and mittens and head outside to play.
This year-round sport is growing by leaps and bounds as players across the world hide and hunt for caches. It's a fun way to spend time outdoors in the winter, even if there's no snow on the ground. You'll need a GPS unit or a GPS enabled mobile phone to play the game. To play, log on to www.geocahing.com and sign up (it's free.) When you enter your zip code, a list of caches hidden in your area will be revealed, along with their GPS coordinates. Decide on a cache, enter its coordinates on your GPS, and go out and try to find it. Caches are hidden in nearly every major (and minor!) town across the world. Currently, there are more than 800,000 hidden geocaches. All caches contain a logbook or paper scroll to sign when you find it; some caches contain small treasures. You can also hide your own caches and post them online for others to find. It's a worldwide treasure hunt.
Even if you can't track animal prints in the snow, you can head to watch wildlife. Often animals are easier to spot in the barren winterscape. Local, state and national parks are great places to go animal watching, Nearby preserves and forests---even golf courses and cemeteries---are prime wildlife watching spots. Check local Audubon and Sierra club calendar listings for guided excursions, as well as with local birding and/or nature clubs. To increase your chances of seeing wildlife, consider these tips: look for out-of-place shapes and motions; look above and below you; crouch down and be as quiet as possible and use binoculars. Also, figure out the best time of day for sighting wildlife by considering an animal's daily schedule. Dusk and dawn are usually prime times for wildlife watching.
If you live near the coast, winter is a great time to go tidepooling because some of the most dramatic tides occur during this season. Time a visit to the beach at low tide to look for the thousands of animals and plants that live in the tidal zone. Dress in warm layers and non-slip, good gripping boots and be careful on the icy, slippery rocks. Many national and state parks along the coastline host guided tidepooling excursions during the winter.
Article Written By Pamela Wright
Pamela Wright is a freelance writer, author of more than two dozen guidebooks, and hundreds of articles. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including "National Geographic Traveler," "Family Circle," "Family Fun," "Backpacker," "Hemispheres," "Cooking Light," "Yankee" and more. An active member of the Society of American Travel Writers, she holds a Bachelor's from Michigan State University