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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Family Outings

It appears that winter is finally here. After the first snowfall we had that melted soon after it arrived, I am typing this to snow gently falling promising that I will be shoveling the front walk shortly. However, it also means the start of a wonderful time of the year; that of Christmas, a New Year full of promise and winter sports.
At first blush you might be tempted to think this column is for the folks new to our area or visitors, however it has been my experience that many times after living in an area for a number of years, many of us take for granted the activities and opportunities our home region has to offer. So in the spirit of seeing our home with new eyes, or maybe just an excuse to try something you haven’t done in a while, take a look at these ideas of family friendly frigid frolics.
· Downhill Skiing/ Snowboarding- There are a number of mountains locally complete with lodges where you can go for the day or for an entire weekend.
· Cross country skiing/ Snowshoeing- With national, state and local parks available nearby, you and your family can see wildlife and beautiful winter scenery very inexpensively. You will also enjoy the quiet family time, and the exercise wouldn’t hurt most of us either.
· Ice fishing- When they ice over, our own Hayden Lake has ice fishing, and so does Spirit Lake and Lake Cocolalla. Make sure you check with local tackle shops or wildlife authorities before venturing out on the ice.
· Snowmobiling- I did a quick Internet search and found a number of rental shops locally that rent snowmobiles fairly reasonably.
· Sleigh rides- There are several places locally that host horse drawn sleigh rides in the winter (and hay rides in the summer). This is a great family activity or an even better romantic date for just Mom and Dad! My wife and I are going to do this when the kids go see the Grandparents over Christmas Break, but it’s a surprise so don’t tell her.
· Hot Cocoa and Board Game night- Ok, I realize that hot cocoa, marshmallows and a rousing game of Scrabble or Monopoly makes for a fairly sedentary evening; however, when the snow is falling and the roads are slick, there are few better, safer ways to spend an evening. Not to mention a better family bonding experience.
These are just a few ideas; I hope that all of you will write me with ideas of your own if you wish to share them. Including costs and where we can find gear or service providers will be helpful. I will publish another column in the near future to pass the ideas along. Winter is still a great time to be in the outdoors, active and spending time with family and nature, so take full advantage. Besides, if everyone is a little chilly, it will encourage more warm hugs and a few more kisses as well.

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