Outdoor Fun, Even During a Pandemic... in the Winter

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Yep, that's me under there, bundled up beneath layers & layers so that as little of my skin as possible is exposed to the very, very cold elements. It's in the 70s as I write this, so this much snow & cold feels fairly distant, thankfully, but even in frigid temps, my friends & I were doing our best to, well, make the best of things, pandemic be damned. 

Here are just a few of the outdoorsy events we enjoyed at near- or below-freezing temps before things started to warm up. 

Having a backyard bonfire

Before it got really cold, our friends Kevin & Amanda hosted a small bonfire in Kevin's parents backyard... which is a working animal farm. I got to scratch a pig named Gump & marvel over the chickens, goats, & horses, & then we all sat around the fire roasting hot dogs & drinking beers & just generally hanging out & catching up.

Watching a movie... outdoors... in January

You've heard of drive-in movies, but how about driveway movies? For our friend Trevor's birthday, a bunch of us gathered at our other friends' house, where they'd set up a film projector facing out of their garage. We sat in folding chairs in the driveway, bundled up in 28-degree weather, to watch The Thing, an '80s sci-fi horror film that takes place, appropriately, in Antarctica. At one point, we even consumed ice cream cake. Did I mention that it was 28 freaking degrees?! 

Exploring downtown by foot

Tired of wandering our own neighborhood, Mike & I drove to downtown Cleveland & spent an hour or so exploring. He works downtown but has barely been to his office during the pandemic; I hadn't been downtown since early 2020, at least. Though it was pretty depressing to see everything closed down & empty, it was nice to get a change of scenery & see our city again. We even found some colorful new artwork to brighten our day. 

Hiking the national park

We're lucky to live so close to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which has so many trails & options for enjoying the great outdoors right here at home. A few days after a snow, my mom & I met up near Boston Mills to do a three-mile walk together. The views were extremely brown, but it was great to breathe in some fresh air, get in some movement, & spend some time together. And Joyce loves an excuse to use her walking sticks! 

Swapping snacks with friends

We couldn't gather with friends this year to watch the Super Bowl, but we still did our own version of a potluck. On an incredibly cold & snowy Super Bowl Sunday, we met up with some friends to exchange homemade goodies with friends. Brock & Laurel, far left, made buffalo chicken dip, chili, & miniature baked potatoes; Mike & Dia, center, made bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with beef; & Mike & I made cream cheese wontons & peanut butter & jelly sandwich cookies.

Now that the weather has warmed up, I'm looking forward to spending time with friends & family outdoors in far less clothing & with much more comfort, but in the depths of winter amid a pandemic, I sure did appreciate being from a city of such hardy stock, willing to brave the elements in order to be social.

What did you get into this winter with friends? Anything this cold? What's on the docket for the warmer weather months? 

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