It is officially that time of year where flowers, chocolates, and valentines dominate the grocery store. If you are like me, you appreciate the representation of the purest emotion, love, but hate the price tag that the month of February attaches to it. So this conundrum begs the question, what can I do with the important people around me without breaking the bank? The answer is simple. Show your love for nature this Valentine’s Day by taking your loved ones outdoors! Whether your loved one is a spouse, best friend, child, or your beloved dog, celebrate this Valentine’s Day by hitting the trails, going bird watching, or playing a sport. I have compiled a list of the top 5 outdoor activities to do with the special people in your life that will help you show your love for each other as well as your love for the outdoors.
- Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count February 13th to 16th
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual event put on by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. It was the first event of its kind to promote citizen-science and collect data on wild birds. To get started, register for the count and count birds for at least 15 minutes on any (or all) of the days of the Great backyard Bird Count. Finally, enter your count data on the Great Backyard Bird Count website or from your mobile device on the GBBC app. This is the perfect opportunity to grab your binoculars, bond with your loved ones, and enjoy the silence of nature. For detailed instructions visit the GBBC website!
- Disc Golf at Auburn Regional Park
Disc Golf is a leisurely outdoor sport that is perfect for beginners, couples, and families. The game is played like it sounds; each player tries to throw their disc into a metal basket in as few throws as possible. The course is situated in the Auburn Regional Park and boasts plenty of trees and natural surroundings that allow you to combine some lovely mild hiking with the game. For information on how to play the game, check out the Disc Golf Association’s website. Tip: If you do not own a disc made specifically for the sport, an inexpensive Frisbee will work just fine as long as you are not trying to perfect your game.
- Hike to Black Hole of Calcutta Falls near Cool, California
This easy hike is an ideal way to unwind with your special someone. The trail is about 2.1 miles roundtrip and takes anywhere from 1-3 hours to complete. Plus this beautiful hike is dog and horse friendly! Bring your camera, some water, and enjoy the year round flow of Calcutta Falls.
- Hike Quarry Trail in Auburn, California
This, all-levels, 3.5 mile hike along the American River has plenty of natural wonders to adore. You can appreciate the historic railway and marvel at limestone walls that form a natural amphitheater. Or simply bask in the breathtaking beauty of the American River Canyon. There is even a fossil display at Hawver Cave! The hike combines interesting history with beautiful surroundings and is a fantastic way to discover something new with your significant other.
- Take a bike ride along Miner’s Ravine Trail in Roseville, California
The Miner’s Ravine trail is a beautiful trail that winds through the city of Roseville. This trail is paved so it is a wonderful spot to go bike riding. The trail is a perfect mixture of wooded greenway and suburban areas; it even goes through downtown Roseville! The trail also provides easy access to the lush views at Miner’s Ravine Preserve which Placer Land Trust’s helped to permanently protect. This trail is a great match if you want to enjoy nature this Valentine’s Day, but do not wish to venture out too far.
Bonus activity: Participate in Placer Land Trust’s docent led hike at Harvego Bear River Preserve
If you did not get your fill of outdoor activities this Valentine’s Day then go on PLT’s docent led hike on February 15th. On this moderate hike you will be greeted with serene rolling oak woodland and savannah as well as have the opportunity to enjoy scenic views of the Bear River from the top Bald Rock. Bring your camera, water, lunch, and the people closest to your heart for a lovely Sunday hike. Please register by Friday at noon for this guided hike.
Valentine’s Day is all about honoring the bonds you have with your loved ones, but in modern society, it is all too easy to disconnect. Nature has this wonderful consequence of forcing us to reconnect with the world and people around us. So make a date with one of these activities and see how nature brings you and your loved ones closer together this Valentine’s Day.
By Alyssa Harmon