Happy Christmas Eve Day! The holiday week in Michigan continues, full of food and games and songs and outings; I love vacation. Earlier this week we ventured from our warm house and spent some time hiking at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, a local environmental conservation and education non-profit whose website appears to have been hacked. Ignore that, and focus instead on the beauty of the great outdoors in winter!
Now, I’m not big on hiking, and I’m not big on cold, so I was a bit apprehensive about our winter out-of-doors plans, but my husband and his family are all complete outdoorsy types, so I have to keep up. And secretly, I do like hiking. I was a girl scout once! I just fear embarrassing myself amongst my super-in-shape in-laws. But you can’t not do things for fear of embarrassment – I would never do anything if that were the case!
So we braved the cold and set out on a trail and I have to say, it was well worth the cold, which I actually didn’t feel after a few uphill stretches. I was surprised and pleased that my pathetic circulatory system was able to deal so well!
I have no idea how far we went or how long we hiked, but I must say I was a bit tired afterward, so that’s a good sign. I really do struggle to get exercise in the wintertime, so I could be talked into regular nature hikes somewhere like the Nature Center, if there is such a thing in the Boston area. Oh, what have I done? As soon as my husband reads that sentence, he’ll be Googling our options and I’ll be forced to go on weekly freezing outings in the Massachusetts wilderness …
The Nature Center land is crisscrossed with veins of water. We stopped at every stream we happened upon to play Pooh Sticks (you know, the game Winnie-the-Pooh plays where you drop sticks off a bridge and see whose stick races to the other side the fastest). Some things are always fun, whether you’re six or twenty-six!
We got up to what is perhaps the highest point in (relatively flat) Kalamazoo and got an excellent view across the few lovely, rolling hills (which, I was told, were created by glacial movements thousands of years ago – one of Tyler’s brothers is a geology major and all are majorly intelligent, so I learn a lot hanging out with this crowd).
Inside the Center are exhibits on local habitats and wildlife, art, and more, but most importantly, there’s a rain forest room! We came from less than thirty degrees outside to more than seventy and very humid; I got warm pretty fast.