Just because the snow flies and temperatures drop below zero doesn’t mean you have to hibernate to stay safe from the dreaded pandemic.
“The cooler season is upon us, but that doesn’t mean outdoor enjoyment is behind us. Fall and winter offer great opportunities for new adventure. Birdwatching can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities even from the warmth of the indoors. All you need is binoculars, an identification guide, and some patience,” says Mary Ann Milne, Executive Director for Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre in Midland.
At Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority you can also see some common and uncommon feathered visitors. “Check out patches of open water like ponds at the Tiffin Conservation Area for late season Belted Kingfishers or waterfowl. Native fruit-bearing trees and shrubs like sumac and high-bush cranberry are great locations to spot Cedar Waxwings,” enlightens Maria Leung, Communications Coordinator.
If you’d like to get more active and your heart pumping, there are many areas including Wye Marsh, Tiffin Conservation Area, Minesing Wetlands Conservation Area, Nottawasaga Bluffs, and the Scenic Caves Nature Adventures where you can cross-country ski, snowshoe, and hike.
“One of the most unique winter offerings at Scenic Caves can only be experienced with a pair of snowshoes. Walk across Ontario’s longest suspension bridge with snowshoes strapped to your boots and observe the view of Georgian Bay,” informs Linda Service, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development for Scenic Caves Nature Adventures.
The Scenic Caves 12-kilometre snowshoe trail offers three levels of difficulty that range from easy, moderate, to expert. You can also access 27-kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails.
“Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are low-impact winter sports for those who find downhill skiing not their speed,” suggests Milne. There are plenty of trails throughout Simcoe County to explore including 25 kilometres of hiking trails that are turned into cross-country ski trails once the snow flies.
For diehard campers or those who want to experience something new, Tiffin Conservation Area offers winter camping, says Leung.
“Dress in layers including a sweat wicking base layer, fleece insulation, and waterproof outer-layers. Wear waterproof footwear, stay hydrated, bring ample water with you, and know your trails. Bring a map, hike during day hours, and always let someone know where you are going,” advises Milne.
While spending time among nature is the obvious way to enjoy the outdoors, Blue Mountain Village is offering a whole new winter experience this holiday season.
“The entire Village is dressed up in garlands and bows. The information hut is a gingerbread house, the Mill pond garden is a Christmas tree farm, and everywhere is a backdrop for a perfect holiday photo-op. Take the family for a nostalgic stroll along charming cobblestone streets and through all the sights and sounds of the season – holiday music, traditional carolers, Santa sightings, enchanting and interactive light displays sparkle through the night. There’s something new to see every day,” shares Patti Kendall, Director of Marketing & Events for Blue Mountain Village Association.
Embrace winter outdoors and stay safe!
Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, Midland
Blue Mountain Village Association
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures, Collingwood