Getting outside in the winter
The weather can be unpredictable this time of year.
The sun can hide for a week at a time and drizzly gray skies could be the norm. Other days the mercury tops 60 degrees and short-sleeves feel comfortable.
I’ve noticed the daffodils are poking up about four or five inches in my yard. It makes me giddy just knowing spring is around the corner. Something else that makes me look forward to the return of warm temperatures are all the outdoor shows that take place in late winter, whetting my appetite for the summer that’s coming.
The Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series, in its 30th year of touring, will be stopping at Old Mill High School in Millersville (in Anne Arundel County) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 4. The seminar touts both national and regional headliners who are guaranteed to reveal prime fishing spots, the best time to fish them, and the most successful baits and lures to use.
The seminar has several stops along the eastern seaboard with each seminar tailored to the ins-and-outs of the local fishing scene. For our region, that means instruction on live-baiting for trophy striped bass, cutting-edge trolling tactics, secrets of fishing the Chesapeake Bay, how to consistently locate and catch trophy flounder, and how to chum like the pros both inshore and offshore.
Tickets cost $55 for five hours of fishing instruction from angling authorities such as Capt. Lonnie Johnson who runs LJ’s Light Tackle Charters out of Calvert County and Beth Synowiec who specializes in catching red drum, cobia, sheepshead and speckled trout in the lower Chesapeake Bay. With sponsors like Columbia Sportswear Company, Yeti, Rapala and Bass Pro Shops, you know there will be some serious door-prizes up for grabs.
For more information and to purchase tickets online, go to www.nationalseminarseries.com.
Winter Waterfowl Trip at JPPM
One of the benefits of writing the outdoors column is having the perfect excuse to ignore some of my more tedious adult responsibilities on the weekends and head outside to explore Southern Maryland instead.
Over the past year I’ve checked a lot off the list of places I want to go, but there’s still work to be done. Somewhere I haven’t been yet is Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in St. Leonard.
This coming Saturday, I’ll be dodging some domestic duties and heading to JPPM to attend the Southern Maryland Audubon Society’s Winter Waterfowl Trip. Hey, even if the weather isn’t great, spending four hours outside and taking in the sights and sounds of JPPM’s 560 scenic acres sounds a lot better than doing the laundry.
The park consists of some varied environments including
river shores, open meadows, woodland trails and cultivated fields, which hopefully will lead to some really great birdwatching. Loons, mergansers, sea ducks and dabblers are likely, often in great numbers, and if the calm weather holds, participants might even catch a glimpse of some rare waterfowl including the Tufted Duck and Barrow’s Goldeneye.
RSVP to leader Tyler Bell by email firstname.lastname@example.org to register for this free event. Attendees should meet at the parking lot near the museum at 8 a.m. sharp.
And make sure to bring your camera along. While you’re exploring the park, try your hand at taking some contest-worthy photographs for the “Wish You Were Here” photo exhibit at JPPM.
The best photographs will be selected for reprinting as postcards for JPPM. The deadline for submission is Feb. 15. For more information, go to www.jefpat.org. Head to Greenwell
Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources has released the official numbers for 2017’s First Day Hikes that took place Jan. 1 to usher in the new year.
The weather couldn’t have been more lovely for a January day. The sun was shining and it was warm enough to forego winter coats and just wear a jacket or sweater.
A total of 2,034 hikers walked 4,030 miles that day. Spending time outdoors in one of Maryland’s scenic state parks was an especially fitting way to begin 2017 for my family. We enjoyed a two-mile hike at Greenwell State Park in Hollywood along with about 40 other people and quite a few dogs.
We are not strangers to Greenwell. Our family has been enjoying the beaches, trails and special programs there for about a decade now, at first for Nature Time when my oldest was just a tot. When my girls were old enough, they took horseback riding classes on days off from school and have attended quite a few summer camps at Greenwell.
Their school even hosted a welcome back picnic at Greenwell last August. We’ve spent a lot of time exploring, hiking, fishing and birdwatching at Greenwell.
I must have visited Greenwell 50 times in the last 10 years or so, and of course I thought I really knew the place. But, the route of our first day hike took turns that I had never traveled before. We walked some of the horseback trails, explored paths through an old forest, skirted agricultural fields and got down to the beach through a route I didn’t even know existed.
It’s really quite a gem, with so much terrain to explore that even old hands can experience something new at Greenwell.