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The playground is frozen

February 11, 2011

By Callie Stevens, Staff Writer

Photo by Skye Butler

Think back to elementary school during the winter months. Were you still allowed to go play on the playground when it was frozen? Now imagine having your favorite playground frozen for four months straight. Would you choose to brave the bitter cold or decide to stay inside in the loving heat of your house? This is the vicious decision outdoor enthusiasts have to make during the winter months. Do they care enough to face the cold to explore nature’s beauties or do they crawl back inside and stay warm? To much surprise, there are many activities that people can do during the winter and still be active with the outdoors including rock climbing, caving and snow hikes.

Rock climbing during the cold winter is entirely different than climbing in the summer. The rock is brutally cold, which makes climbing harder because it makes your hands cold and harder to hold onto the rock. Many outdoor enthusiasts still courageously go rock climbing, because they love it so much. But for those who like climbing but don’t love it, I suggest indoor rock climbing. Climbers use indoor rock climbing as a training tool because they can focus on the climbing aspect like learning how to make a new move or building up their strength, without having to worry about environmental issues such as the weather. It’s the perfect compromise of being able to stay warm but still be active in an ‘outdoorsy’ way.

Another great compromise is caving. There are 513 caves in Georgia. Though most are on private property, there are many like Petty John’s Cave in Lafayette that are open and free to the public. The amazing fact about caves is that they stay a constant 58 degrees year round no matter what the temperature is outside. This makes caving perfect in the winter because people can actually go warm up while exploring all the routes and adventures the caves hold. With all the benefits of caving it can also be very dangerous. So, be sure to have a guide that has been to the cave before and knows its passages. This will help prevent getting lost and allowing for a better experience.

One of the best adventures during the winter is snow hikes. Outdoor enthusiasts usually embrace the cold when it has snowed and explore a whole new playground. The mountains are transformed completely when they are covered in snow. What use to be green and noisy, is now quiet, peaceful and elegant when it’s covered in snow. Some of the best adventures are going on day hikes to places you have been before and seeing how it changes during the winter months.

An ancient Chinese poem describes a snow covered mountain as “pure snowflakes blooming on the pine Huangshan Mountain in winter is the snowy heaven on earth.”

The mountains are just as, if not more, beautiful to explore during the winter. So, try taking a day hike and seeing the mountains in a new perspective.

The outdoor enthusiasts’ playground may be frozen during the winter months, but there are still a variety of activities to go explore. The question is, how adventurous are you?

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  1. February 11, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Ah, now I want to go to Petty John’s Cave!

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