Monday, December 9, 2013
This is the time of the year when my family has no time for our usual outdoor adventures. It's all about the kids' school schedule and their 4-H livestock activities. But a month of primarily indoor activities gives us a new motivation to find time in our busy schedule to get back outside.
Here's a peek at what we've been talking about doing in the next few months.
• Disc golf. The game involves throwing a hard plastic disc into a metal basket on a golf-like course. It is a year-round sport, offering a different type of fun in the snow. It's a great way to spend some family time together playing a low-key game.
Enmen Field in Brunswick is a family favorite that has two 18-hole courses. My daughters were 5 and 6 years old the first time they hit the course and loved it. www.mainediscgolf.com
• Zipline. This has been on the kids' to-do list since our visit to Sunday River two years ago. The zipline course at Sunday River includes a series of seven lines strewn between large trees (and poles) in the woods. It's a unique thrill to be suspended from a galvanized cable and fly through the woods. My kids love it (me, too!).
Our first, and only, zipline course experience was in the snow but I've been told it's a great way to see the mountain colors in the fall.
There is another zipline course with three lines in Windham at SeaCoast Fun Park. Sunday River's zipline course is open year-round, while SeaCoast Fun Park is open on weekends through Nov. 18 and then reopens during the snow tubing season (weather permitting). www.sundayriver.com/EventsActivities; www.seacoast funparks.com
• Geocaching. We go in spurts with playing this game and it's been a while since we've been on the lookout for geocaches.
For those unfamiliar, geocaching is a game that uses GPS coordinates to find a hidden box filled with inexpensive trinkets and a logbook. There are many more players, or geocachers, these days, thanks to a very user-friendly mobile phone app.
The girls said it's time to do another "mystery" type cache that requires some problem solving to find the final coordinates.
We also have some traditional geocaches we've hidden ourselves that are in desperate need of maintenance, so we'll be doing some of that before the snow flies, too. www.geocaching.com
• Full moon hike. A winter full moon is bright and we have enjoyed seeing a local trail in the moonlight. We hope to have a new full-moon adventure in the next couple of months on our own, or with one of the outdoor groups that organize them. maineaudubon.org; www.outdoors.org
• Stargazing. With the nights getting longer, fall can be a great time to stargaze (winter is even better). Now my teens have their own smartphones and the stargazing apps they have ensure an accurate identification of celestial objects.
This is something we can do anytime at home on a clear night but we still look forward to our annual trip to the Southworth Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine's Portland campus, too. usm.maine.edu/planet
• Cross-country skiing. The kids and I were really disappointed with the lack of snow activities last year. We hardly had time to do anything before the snow melted. You can bet that we'll be dropping everything to get out on the cross-country trails behind our house during the first snowfall.
We also hope to visit the community-supported groomed trails of Twin Brooks in Cumberland and Riverside in Portland. Talk of a little snow dance tribute has been discussed to ensure we get a weekend of local cross-country skiing this year. mainecoastnordic.blogspot.com/p/twin-brook.html; www.portlandmaine.gov/winterfunspots/default.asp
Wendy Almeida can be contacted at 791-6334 or at: