Don’t worry, it’s not your eyes, it’s Norwegian. “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes.” Getting outside is more important than ever. Vitamin D strengthens our immune systems and sunlight increases serotonin which boosts mood. Even if it’s 5 minutes a day, let’s get out there!
Step 1- Mask Up
A physically distanced walk, wearing masks is a great way to connect. Find local mask makers at the Colorado Mask Project or, shop locally and online at Hope Tank for masks. They are ”… comfortable enough to wear while exercising, AND keep your face warm,” says Erin Kliewer Persaud, a North Denver mom and Director of Operations at I Support the Girls.
Step 2 – Stay Hydrated
You may feel less thirsty in the winter but your body needs more water. The extra energy it takes us to stay warm combined with Colorado’s dry climate is the culprit; bumping up your hydration is the fix.
Step 3 – Layer it Up
Remember, you can peel layers off, but you can’t add layers you didn’t bring along. Remember to start with water wicking socks. Kate Garwood, a North Denver ski instructor raising a daughter who would “live her whole life outside if she could”, says. Loveland Ski area is an awesome place to take kids. She finds pre-loved clothing to keep her family warm at local second hand/consignment shops. And scours other local stores for last year’s gear on sale.
Step 4 – Go Outside!
Start with your own block and then get ready to explore.
Looking for new places to explore?
Inspiration Point Park between 48th and 52nd, west of Sheridan is a 1 mile loop trail to an overlook with panoramic views of the Front Range and Denver.
Sloans Lake Park has a 2.6-mile loop around the lake which is a bird watcher’s paradise including being home to a pair of bald eagles. We’d love to have you join our walking crew, meeting at the North Playground every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9:15. Rain, snow, or shine.
Gold Strike Park near Sheridan and Ralston Road is the site of Colorado’s first gold discovery.
Find Lowell Ponds State Wildlife Area off Lowell Blvd just south of I-76. There are trails between the various lakes, ponds totalling about 2 miles.
Heron Pond Loop at 54th and Washington is 1.3 miles long. It attracts rare birds and is connected by trails to the adjacent Northside Park and South Platte River Trail.
Jack B. Tomlinson Park Loop near Garrison and 51st and Empower Field at Mile High have outdoor fitness stations, a true bonus for folks who are missing their gyms.
Crown Hill Lake is an easy loop with mountain views. There is a 1.2 mile paved trail and a 0.7 mile nature preserve loop trail in the northwestern section of the park.
Riverside Cemetery just a half mile north of I-70/Brighton Boulevard is Denver’s oldest operating cemetery and a national historic district. Visit the Friends of Riverside website (friendsofriversidecemetery.org) for a walking map to learn about all the notable and notorious characters buried there.
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest urban wildlife refuges in the United States. A few miles from downtown Denver, the Refuge has more than 10 miles of easy hiking trails and is free to enter.
Other places to roam worth the short drive:
Castlewood State Park has 13 miles of trails including an abandoned dam, which some people say is haunted. Local outdoor aficionado (and mom) Abby Coven told me they “just went to Castlewood Canyon State Park and it was a great place for the kids to explore – hiking, rocks to climb on, creeks to throw rocks in.”
Mt. Falcon is one of the more unique parks near the city. A great escape for nature lovers and history buffs alike.
Red Rocks Amphitheater Park isn’t just for music fans; it’s an incredible workout setting too.
Daniel’s Park is known for sunsets. Plus, you are likely to encounter their herd of bison! Ginger Bruce Bihm, North Denver architect and avid walker shared a secret spot to access the park where you are likely to have the place to yourselves. “Search Grigs Road Pavilion (East-West Regional Trail). From Daniels Park Road, park and head west. The trail is gravel so it doesn’t get too muddy and it gets a lot of sun so snow melts off quickly. Great views of the entire front range and also downtown.”
Maybe wheels are more your style. Grab your bike and try out Denver’s 196 miles of bike paths. Or try out another set of wheels. “[The local skate shop] has done a great job outfitting my daughter with new roller skates, knee pads, helmet, etc.,” shares Mary McManus, mom of 4 kids, who is doing a bang up job of getting them outside this winter.
For more ideas of places to take your feet this winter check out local author Mindy Sinks books, Walking Denver and 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver and Boulder. Both are filled with lots of ideas on where to go as well as some fun history and local lore.
Wherever you are heading — remember your mask, your water bottle, and your layers. Channel those Norwegians and let’s get outside this winter!
Erika Taylor is a community wellness instigator at Taylored Fitness, the original online wellness mentoring system. Taylored Fitness believes that everyone can discover small changes in order to make themselves and their communities more vibrant, and that it is only possible to do our best work in the world if we make a daily commitment to our health. Visit facebook.com/erika.taylor.303 or email email@example.com.