Project Get Out is my personal challenge to spend at least a half hour a day outside for the fall. Because even though I work in natural resources and write about the outdoors, I don’t get out nearly enough.

This project was supposed to be my fall challenge to get outside more, but when I look out there, it’s already winter.

Monday: Another inside day, aka a fail. The days are just too short. If I don’t get home early, there’s no time to get outside while it’s still daylight. We’re now down to just over 9 hours of daylight: 8 am until a little after 5 pm. It’s tough to get out during the day. Of course I could go out after dark, but with two recent cougar sightings in the UP, I have another excuse to stay inside and watch that damn TV.

Tuesday: Holiday! I was going to spend the day doing some errands in town, but stayed home because we got a snowstorm on Tuesday. By the end of the day, the snow was well over a foot deep and it would have been impossible to get my car out of the driveway. I mostly spent the day inside, shamelessly relaxing and reading books in our cozy house. But I did (ad)venture out in the snow. Since I couldn’t drive anywhere to ski, skied right down our road, and then around the corner down a dead end road and into the forest. It was a perfect first ski of the year (also my earliest ever).

Selfie of my skis!


Wednesday: My outside time was spent with the snow blower. Let’s just say that it wasn’t as fun as skiing.

Thursday: Long day inside. Fail. But on the bright side, I totally crushed it in the gym, setting several new personal records. Ka-pow!

Friday: Another fail. I had hoped to ski in the afternoon. But after packing all my ski clothes and getting off work early to run some errands, I realized that I hadn’t packed my skis. Doh! And then my intentions to go home and do something outside where thwarted by my having to wait two hours to get my snow tires put on. Spending that much time at the auto shop was frustrating, but reminded me why I always try to get my snow tires put on at the beginning of October—I know better than to wait until the crazy weather comes.

Saturday: Another luxurious day at home, reading in our cozy house. It was the opening day of deer hunting, and so everyone else was away. In the afternoon, I bundled up—wearing my bright red coat to be extra visible— and took a walk to the lake. With all the snow on the ground, it seems like the lake should already be froze up.

The lake on November 15. Last winter, I skied straight across this stretch of lake around January 15th.
The lake on November 15. Last winter, I skied straight across this stretch of lake around January 15th.

For a forester, I often have an awful time identifying trees. I was taking my time, trying to get better at telling the difference between red and sugar maple so that I’m ready when we tap trees. One tree (not a maple) had me stumped for several minutes. It didn’t help that it was probably dead, having discolored bark and being full of wood pecker holes. I mostly gave up, walking away and hoping that I might figure it out if I could see it from a greater distance. Ultimately, I suspect that it was just a mangy aspen, but I might make Sexy take a look at it and tell me what it really is.

Sunday: I went up to the trails for a fairly long, slow ski in the morning, which was rather pleasant but not particularly notable. More notable was that after getting home, I rode my ‘cross bike down snow-covered roads to my neighbor’s house to hang out, and then rode back a few hours later. I would like to ride my bike around the neighborhood at least once a month during the winter, just to keep my neighbors on their toes if nothing else.

See? It really is winter!
See? It really is winter!

2 thoughts on “Project Get Out: Week 8

  1. Best winter time ID – Red maple has way bigger buds (that are red!) than sugar maple. Or really, I think it is large clusters of buds, but really noticeable compared to sugar maples’ wimpy non-clusters. Just look up and when you see a red maple you will KNOW!

    1. Thanks! I know that’s supposed to work in theory, but I don’t have the best of luck with it. It seems like some of our red maples have GIANT red buds and are easy to identify, but it’s really hard to tell with others. Perhaps it’s because the trees are still relatively small (pole-sized)?


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