Is anyone else watching the Walking Dead on AMC? Their other shows are phenomenal, so I have been watching the series from the beginning. No, I do not think the zombie apocalypse is coming, but that series literally hit close to home.
The series is filmed in metro Atlanta, my home since 1998. I recognize most of the landscape in the outdoor scenes, but the quarry was new to me. I thought it must have been in some remote area in rural Georgia, so I started investigating its actual location. Lo and behold, it is located right next to downtown Atlanta. That area is kind of a sketchy part of town (getting better), but I lived about a mile away for seven years. I worked 1/2 mile away for two years. I went to school a mile away for five years (yeah yeah, I took a year off). I rode my bike by that place probably a thousand times and drove by it every weekday on the way to work at a couple of different jobs for a few years.
Atlanta is in the process of turning the quarry into the city’s largest park. I don’t know if it is public yet, but that looks like a really cool place to check out. The metro area has a surprising amount of parks tucked away that I only started discovering when Google maps became close to what it is today.
My point is that I had absolutely no idea that it was there, even though I was right next to it for many years. When I lived and worked in the area, my friends and I actively explored the city around us on bike and on foot, regardless of whether or not we were allowed to be in the area, and we completely missed it.
I was reflecting on how much I love the Fall and how I am going to miss this inviting weather when it gets too cold to be outside… Then I realized just how much there is to do outside in the colder months. I remember being outside when I was younger,Â building snowmen and having snowball fights with the other neighborhood kids, and how those days provided me with life-long memories.Â I recently learned how to snowboard and I hope to be able to take a trip this year, but if not I have some ideas that I would like to share that will still keep you in touch with nature during the colder months.
Winter photography: This can help you discover new vistas and explore places that you haven’t seen.
Stargazing: Crisp winter nights with little cloud cover make for the perfect opportunity to observe and identify different constellations in the night’s sky.
Day Hikes: Hiking is my all-time favorite outdoor activity; hiking in the winter time allows you to observe nature in a different form. Leaf-less trees and ice/snow-covered limbs are beautiful sights to behold
Night Hike: Make sure to bundle up for this one! with gloves on and flashlight in hand, night hikes can provide you with sights that cannot be seen in the day time. Shine the lights up into the canopy and try to spot a nesting owl! Shine your light through the woods at about knee-waist height and see if you can see any eyes reflecting back at you!
Follow animal tracks: If there is snow or ice on the ground, an animal’s tracks can be observed for hours after they were there. Try to identify all the different tracks you see on a trail, by a river or pond, or even by the road. (One fun activity for the kids is to get plaster of Paris and actually “collect” the print by making a mold of it).
Make snow ice cream: Use clean snow and add milk and your favorite flavoring and mix it altogether for a winter treat!
Sledding: In my opinion, you can never be to old to enjoy this past-time!
Not only can these little furballs modify a giant leaf for a shelter, but they are also ridiculously cute. If vampires transformed into these guys, they wouldn’t have had such a bad reputation for so long.
If a flying fluffball can use nature to make its own shelter, so can you!