Let’s face it. December can be a tough time to be active in the Northwest. Between the short days, cold weather, the holidays and all of the other distractions, we have plenty of excuses to stay bundled up indoors. So we compiled a list of things that just might inspire you to go for a walk, take a hike and get yourself active as we count down to 2014.
Cold as Ice
Ice skating in the Pacific Northwest tends to be an indoor activity, but some parks and tourist attractions open outdoor rinks when the temperatures drop in the winter. If you’re in eastern Washington, check out the Riverfront Park Ice Palace in Spokane. Many winter destinations in Oregon have outdoor rinks too, including Bend and Ashland. Though it’s not outdoors, the Winterfest Ice Rink at Seattle Center is another option. If you can’t make it there, try these indoor favorites in the Seattle area from Red Tricycle.
Holiday light displays provide great opportunities to go for a walk with the family. Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood is an hour north of Seattle and hosts The Lights of Christmas each December, with more than one million lights over 15 acres.
In Portland, The Grotto Festival of Lights combines choir performances with lights and nativity displays. Take a brisk walk through the Grotto’s gardens on a mile-long loop. If you’re looking for a walk on the wild side, zoos in Seattle, Tacoma and Portland also have holiday light festivals.
The Washington Trails Association has a number of opportunities to volunteer with science projects that will take you to scenic locations in the Olympic Mountains and North Cascades. Hit the trails to help monitor wolverines, wolves, elk, birds and other native creatures like the Coastal Olympic Pine Marten, seen in this story from KUOW:
In Oregon, the Department of Fish and Wildlife sponsors Regional Wildlife Volunteer Program opportunities around the state, with offices in Roseburg, La Grande and Clackamas. You could also hit the beach on the Oregon or Washington coasts to watch migrating gray whales begin their journey to warmer waters.
Jingle Bell Rock
When you want to work out indoors, try putting together a holiday playlist to keep you moving in the spirit of the season. Jog.fm can help you find songs to fit your running pace or targeted heart rate. Or try a compilation disc like Holidays Rule, featuring music from a variety of modern artists including Portland’s own The Shins.
What motivates you to keep moving during the last month of the year? Share your Northwest inspiration in the comments below.