Winter solstice puts us in outdoor mood

Carol EvansOur Town Outdoors

Happy winter, y’all!

The winter solstice is at 11:19 p.m. Saturday, and once it passes, our sunlight hours will start increasing – slowly – day by day. That’s just what we need to remind us to get out and play.

But for those of you who still want to hibernate for a while, I get it. We have weeks of cold weather ahead of us. Meanwhile, you’re busy with other things this time of year. You have family gatherings to attend and friends to visit. And even if you don’t, you’re trying to wrap up everything you need to do before 2019 ends so you can relax for a few days.

Just remember, your body still needs to move. Your lungs still need fresh air. Even if the flashy holiday races and buzz-worthy festivals have tapered off, there are still fun runs and hikes and activities offering social engagement to inspire you to live an active lifestyle – and possibly motivate you to start the new year on the right foot.

So eat your figgy pudding (what is that, anyway?!) and drink your eggnog. But know that our parks, greenways, bike trails and weekly runs will welcome you back when you’re ready.

On Saturday, there’s a Winter Solstice Sunrise Hike at Frozen Head State Park as well as the monthly Third Saturday Hike at the UT Arboretum.

Don’t forget that Cool Sports is offering four sessions of ice-skating lessons Monday (Dec. 23) at Knoxville’s Holidays on Ice on Market Square. Monday is also the day for the Knoxville Track Club’s Holiday Lights Run – you’re encouraged to wear your own lights as you run and enjoy the lights along the route.

There’s something going on on Wednesday – oh yeah, Merry Christmas!

And if you’re a serious hiker – but not necessarily a serious person – you’ll want to sign up for the Dec. 28 annual Reindeer Crawl at the Chimney Tops in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Oh what fun …

Find details about these events and more in the Outdoor Knoxville calendar.

Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to ensuring that our community enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces, and that those assets exist for generations to come.


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