Just when you aren't expecting it...
After the temperatures and snowfall we experienced in February and early March, some of us may have thought that we would never see the first signs of spring. Then, like someone turned on a light switch, we suddenly hear the sweet sound of melting snow. Finally we can shed the long underwear and step outside without our hands freezing to the door handle. With the first signs of spring I, like most people around here, get the itch to pull out the kayak and camping gear, but then quickly come to a very rude awakening. What the _______? There is still snow and ice everywhere!
Unfortunately Big Tupper is now closed for the season, so skiing is out of the question. What do I do? Then, things get worse. Just when I think I am going stir crazy enough on my own, I have to listen to my daughter ask me over and over again "can we go to the beach today?" Then, when I explain to her that we can't, I get the follow-up questions: "Can we ride our bikes today? How about a picnic? Fine... can we at least go play at the playground?"
I made it the whole way through winter before cabin fever started to creep into our home. Then, just as the calendar is ready to flip from winter to spring (or mud season), cabin fever set in and is now spreading like wildfire! There has got to be a way to beat this!
9 tips for surviving cabin fever (& mud season):
1. Try to get the most out of the end of winter
Just because the peak of winter recreation is now behind us, it doesn't mean there isn't still plenty of fun to be had. Don't pack away the snowshoes and cross country skis too early. If you venture into the woods, you will find that there is still lots of great snow waiting for you to make tracks on. Better yet, the fact that you can now enjoy the snow without combating sub-zero temperatures really only sweetens the deal. Don't sit around waiting for mud season to completely take hold on you. Grab your gear and plan a spring outing, after all if will be some time before the fun of winter recreation can be experienced again.
2. Plan activities that even Mother Nature can't destroy
We all know that Mother Nature can be a little... let's just say "unpredictable" this time year. Don't let her spoil your plans! Schedule some activities (or at the very least, make a back up plan) that is not weather dependent. Consider catching a movie at the Adirondack State Theater, visit The Wild Center for March Maple Madness, or stop into Lakeview Lanes for a family bowling competition. Find anything that will keep your family from looking like the sad little kids in the opening scene from Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat. Or in my case, the house looking like the cat actually showed up!
3. Eat, drink and be merry
Nothing wards off boredom like the combination of good food, great drinks and the best of company. Schedule a night on the town! Start off with dinner at your favorite restaurant, then meet up with some old friends for drinks at a local pub. Be sure to keep an eye on the events calendar for upcoming live music. While you have the crew together, take the opportunity to start planning your summer adventures.
4. Get in shape for summer
There is no time like the present to get outdoors and start getting in shape for summer. Whether it is a beach body you are aiming for or you are training for one of the many athletic events lined up for this summer, spring is a great time to get a head start. After all, what better opportunity will you find to practice running & crawling through mud for July's Warrior Run at Big Tupper than tromping through the mud pits that will appear over the next few weeks? (Note from the author: if you do give this a try, make sure to share the photos with us!)
5. Be creative!
Find creative ways to shake things up. Maybe the kids are completely over sledding, fort building, and snowman making for the year. Have them throw on some old clothing and give them a spray bottle filled with water and food coloring, then simply let them go nuts decorating the remaining snowbanks. Start sketching plans for your Woodsmen's Days parade float. Visit a local shop or Casagrain's Art Gallery to pick out some new decorative pieces to liven up your living space. Let your creative genes fight off your stir crazy ones.
6. Plan your summer adventures
It is never to early to start writing your summer bucket list. Gather your friends, family, colleagues, whoever it may be and start planning this summer's hiking, paddling, camping and fishing trips. Figure out what attractions you plan on visiting and what events you want to attend. Prioritize your list, trying to schedule as much of it as you can in advance, then do your research. Once you know what you plan to do, and when you plan on doing it, don't forget the most important part: reserve your room or favorite camping spot before it is gone! The better planning you do now, the less time you will waste on a beautiful summer day sitting around trying to decide what everyone wants to do.
Mud season is a great time to get lost in a good book. Whether it is that novel that has been sitting on your nightstand collecting dust, a best seller you picked up from the local library, or an Adirondack Guide Book you are using to research your summer hiking trails, having a trusty read to get lost in is a great distracter for the cabin fever blues.
8. Dust off & inventory your summer gear
Mud season is the perfect time to get a head start on your pesky summer chores. Try to get as much done as you can in advance. If you get it done now, you'll be able to spend the nice days out on the golf course or in your kayak where we know you really want to be. While you're at it, make sure you have everything you need for summer. Have the kids try their life jackets on to make sure they still fit, check the tire pressure in your bike, and inventory the camping gear. Once you realize what you have and what you still need, it is time for a little retail therapy! Even if you aren't ready to purchase that new bike or boat right away, it is always a fun distractor to start researching now!
9. Get Outside!
So you have tried tips 1-8 and yet again another day rolls around and you're still experiencing a mild case of cabin fever. Rest assured, before you know it the emerald greens of spring will be appearing before your eyes. In the meantime, get outside! I'm sure by the point you get to step 9 the Waterfront Walkway at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park will be bare of snow. It might not be the epic hiking trips you are craving, but a little fresh air and a view of the water can help create a whole new mindset. Looking for a longer excursion? Consider taking a walk along Route 421 out toward Horseshoe Pond. It's another great walk that will give you the sense of peacefulness you get on the trails, without finding you knee deep in mud tearing up the trails before they are ready for us.
The End is in Sight!
Before we know it summer will be in full swing, so don't let the lull of mud season get you stuck! Remember that once mid-spring arrives the Adirondacks will return to a wonderful playground for outdoor recreation. Plan your trip today, and let your adventure lead the way tomorrow...