Opening the Door, Walking Outside

Upper Peninsula Winter

This post and photos were contributed by blogger Kathy, a hometown friend in Baraga County. She writes one of my favorite Upper Peninsula blogs and is making a commitment to enjoy Upper Peninsula’s nature each and every day in 2009. Please check out her blog and subscribe at

Any one ever feel challenged about getting off the couch and getting outside in the depths of winter? Any one ever stay inside (except for maybe a trip to the mailbox after work) and suddenly you notice a week or two has passed without spending time in the beautiful outdoors?

That has been my scenario almost every November here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Other times of the year, it’s not hard to explore, to walk, to play, to hike…but something about Winter here in Baraga County that often plots to keep some of us in hibernation-mode during the deep freeze months.

This year, about mid-December, I saw the old pattern starting to re-establish itself. My daughter was home for a few weeks, and we decided to hike up a small local mountain (or large hill, if you prefer). Only a couple inches of snow had fallen, and we thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon up on the rocks. Afterward, inspiration struck!

I would spend one whole year, 365 days, opening the door and going outside. Rain or shine, snow or melt, 20 below zero or 90 degrees, I would commit to spending time in nature. Then, every day, whether any words appeared or not, I would write about the experience in a blog. My family had given me my first digital camera in September and it was also time to begin to learn the ropes. I would begin learning how to take pictures.

It’s been 89 days now since I started on the Solstice in December. (as of Sunday, March 8th) I’ve been out there every single day, mind you. If you’d like to read outdoor adventures in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (and anywhere else I may visit during 2009) please visit

I’ve written about everything. Wearing shorts in the wintertime, how to meditate outside, mountain lions, Michigan Tech’s Ice Carnival, overcoming a fear of the rooftop in winter, skiing, snowshoeing, Heikinpaiva, filling a woodroom, ice fishing on the Keweenaw Bay, tracking, windchill, reading poetry outside, sitting under a tree, hiking, the Marquette Dog Sled Races. You name it, I’ve written it (or will be writing it in the next 276 days!)

Justin asked me for some tips or advice to give readers about what to do outdoors. Here’s what I’ve learned. Just open the door and go outside. Do it every day. Nature herself will help you decide what to do. You’ll know if you’re meant to hike, to snowshoe, to walk leisurely, to walk slowly, to barrel down a ski slope, to sit still. Learn listen to what messages and teachings Nature will share with you.

The best advice I can give is this: Do it! Right now. Head out the door and see what’s happening. You won’t be disappointed.