WINTER HIKE IS A TRADITION FOR SOME
Event offers interpretive walks, warm food, music
To some, Lake Metroparks’ Winter Hike may be just another walk in the park.
To Bill Fisher, it’s more than that. He’s been bringing his daughters, Sarah, 13, and Noelle, 8, to the event at Penitentiary Glen Reservation for the last several years. This year’s hike took place Feb. 10, beginning at 1 p.m.
“It’s fun just to get some daddy-daughter time,” said the Kirtland resident, as he and the girls enjoyed hot soup, bread and live acoustic music at the Nature Center after a mile-long, interpretive trek. “It’s kind of unique what they do here, getting out and learning about nature.”
“If it weren’t for this, I’d be home doing homework and she’d be watching TV,” said Sarah, motioning toward her sibling, who was now on her feet moving to the music.
Bill noted that he took Sarah’s cell phone away for the duration of the hike.
“She can’t have it until it’s over,” he said.
“We started doing the winter hike to get people to come outdoors in the winter.” — Interpretive Naturalist Amber Walde.
The Fishers were among a handful of families who opted for the shorter, lesschallenging of the hikes offered. The meal, plus hot tea and chocolate, and s’mores around a campfire, helped to warm the chilled walkers.
Cost was $7 per person and included a hike patch with the commemorative year. The event was begun a decade ago.
“We started doing the winter hike to get people to come outdoors in the winter,” said Interpretive Naturalist Amber Walde. “Whether there’s snow or no snow, they still can enjoy nature in winter.”
The guided hikes included stops along the way to learn from naturalists about the various types of habitats at Penitentiary Glen, and the plants and animals that call them home. A highlight was a station featuring Hemlock the owl, one of the “ambassador” animals that live at the Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center.
Noelle said her favorite part was “probably just walking and learning about the stuff,” such as the animals of each habitat.
Sarah said she enjoys the exercise and, at times, meeting new friends on the hikes.
Bill is hopeful his daughters will carry on the tradition with their own families some day.
While this is the only winter hiking event held at Penitentiary Glen, there are several naturalist-led hiking programs throughout the year within Lake Metroparks.
Visitors of all ages enjoyed the outdoors during Lake Metroparks’ Winter Hike Feb. 10 at Penitentiary Glen.
Winter Hike participants warmed up with a hot meal at Penitentiary Glen Nature Center Feb. 10.
Hemlock the owl was a highlight of the interpretive Winter Hike Feb. 10 at Penitentiary Glen in Kirtland.