Just because the temperature has dropped doesn’t mean you have to hunker down indoors and wait for spring to arrive. There are the traditional things to do outdoors in the winter like snowshoeing, skiing and sledding but we like to stray from the norm and spend the day on a Winter micro adventure.
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If you dress warm, pack a good lunch with a hot beverage and set out with a plan for the day – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the fun to be had. A micro adventure can be anything you want. From heading out to a state park right after work to walk the trails for an hour to a full day of exploring new areas or activities. If all this talk about planning your own micro adventure is overwhelming – relax. We’ve done the leg work for you. First you’ll build a kick ass igloo, and then spend some time in it reveling at how talented you are. From there you’ll move on to enjoying a warm bonfire and admiring some star formations that really pop in the winter.
Adventure #1: Building An Igloo
It sounds like a daunting task and if you’re not prepared, it will be. If you get sick of making an actual igloo you can cut it short and still have a pretty sweet looking snow fort. But let’s start off on the right foot and go for the igloo.
- Igloo Block Mold or Rubbermaid Container
The first thing to do is determine the size of your igloo. Let’s face it you probably don’t want to spend the time making something you’re able to lay down in. So shoot for something you can sit in. Once you decide on that, pack down the snow in a circle of where you will be starting your blocks. Now you are ready to make bricks, and you will be making a lot of bricks. Use the shovel to dump snow in to your mold and pack it down. Put the first brick down and continue following your path around the circle to complete the first layer. You don’t need a hole for the door yet, we’ll add it in after. Don’t strive for perfection or there is no hope of you even finishing this igloo by sunset.
Moving on to the next few layers. You will want to slope your bottom layer on the edges so that your next layers actually start to form the dome shape. Otherwise you are just building a snow tower. Which is cool too, if you’re in to that. You also want to be laying the second layer of bricks over the cracks of the first layer. Think of how brick buildings look. As you keep adding layers make sure you are packing the snow down every time to create a strong bond. We’ve now reached the tedious portion of brick building and laying – this is by far the longest step.
Once you are getting towards that top and the bricks are curving in to nearly complete your dome shape you will need to figure out the door situation. If you’re igloo is strong you will need to use a shovel to create a small arched entrance. It doesn’t have to be anything special, just enough room to sneak in.
Before you break out the high fives for a job well done, you need to get that last piece on the top of the dome on. We like to build a piece that is a little larger than the hole and use a shovel to get it up to the top. Once you place it, try to pack it down with the shovel. You can also go on the inside of the igloo and try to help it from inside. Now that your masterpiece is together, take some time to fill in the cracks with snow and make sure it is solid. Then it’s time to crack open a bottle of wine and have a picnic in your new igloo. At this point it may be getting close to dark – it’s time to build that bonfire.
Adventure #2: Winter Bonfire
After all that work, you’ll be ready to relax around a bonfire. If you think sitting around a fire in the summer is fun, then you’re in for a real treat around a winter bonfire. Not only does a winter fire provide needed warmth, it just seems more peaceful. If you’re out in the woods in the dead of winter chances are there are not many others out venturing around so you truly may be the only few people out.
As you sit around the campfire, try making some mulled wine. With only a few ingredients this tasty sipper is perfect for sitting around a wintry fire. If you’re looking for a good recipe, we have one here. If dessert is more your thing, try making doughnuts over the campfire – they’re delicious. It just takes a pan (cast iron would be best) and a few ingredients and you’ll have yourself a melt-in-your mouth doughnut. We have the recipe here to get you started. After you’ve indulged, it’s time to take in the night sky.
Adventure #3: Star Gazing
Winter really makes the stars pop as the air is crisp and the stars reflect at a higher rate. January is the perfect month to look up at the sky, as all 5 visible planets are shining bright. A visible planet is one that you can see unaided. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can all be seen if you’re a dedicated star gazer. Venus and Mercury are probably the easiest as they are available right when darkness falls. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn require a longer time commitment – or getting up in the middle of the night. If you’d rather search out constellations, Orion is probably the most well known constellation that is easily visible in January. It is known as the Great Hunter and looks like a man holding a bow and arrow. Whether you are searching for planets, pointing out constellations or just looking up at all the stars – the beauty of space on a clear winters night is breathtaking.
Like we said earlier, micro adventures can be anything you want them to be. Instead of making our above suggestions in to a full day event, break them up if you want. Head out right after work to a park where you can do some star gazing or start a bonfire for an hour or so in your backyard before bed. A micro adventure is a way for you to break out of the norm, whether that is on a work day or a weekend. So get out and find some new activities!