Tuesday Feb. 16th, 2010

Valentine’s Day? What Valentine’s Day…..

Hallie Zolynski

For many couples Valentines Day is a holiday where if you don’t either give or receive something you’re in the dog house. For single people it is a day to either be sad about or to ignore. But why not make it a day that you can enjoy without all the hoopla of giving gifts and spend it being with the one(s) you love by being outdoors? Most single people will ignore this day and just go about their business but it doesn’t have to be a day just for couples. Why not tell your best friend how much you care for them on this day, or tell your family how much you love them? Spending the day outdoors is cheap, and living in a place where there is so much to do is not that hard to come up with some ideas that will please everyone.
One way to get the heart pumping and to see some beautiful countryside is to take a hike up Bear Canyon, I recently went up there for a hike and did not realize the network of trails that exist there. You cross numerous creeks, see wildlife, and can go as far back as Mystic Lake. Just be sure to bring along either trekking poles or have some yaktraks on as the trail is slick in spots. One thing to be aware of is that the map is confusing to say the least and doesn’t really give a good indication as to where the trails go, so either get a good map showing Bear Canyon or just remember that one trail may loop around to the next and you could be doing circles. The whole family will enjoy this area as well since there is a short sledding hill right by the parking lot. Be sure to bring some hot chocolate for afterwards. Another option is to go ice skating at the Fairgrounds, it is a great place to learn how to skate or try out your Olympic skills. After you have ice skated to your hearts content and worked up an appetite I would recommend going to Zydeco for some warm gumbo, it’s amazing, just remember that they close at 3pm on Sundays.
If hiking or ice skating is not something that appeals to you and you want to just hang out with your friends and be low key as possible (as in not break a sweat) then try the sledding hill at the new park off of Oak Street for some fun. The hill is not that steep and you will always find people out there sledding and walking around, who knows maybe you will meet that special someone.
With so many outdoor options it was hard to decide what to write about, these are just a few options to get you started on your way either with your special someone or with your friends and family. Valentines Day should be fun and should be for everyone, and why not start a new tradition by making this day a day that we just tell the people around us how much we care for them and cherish them? Go outside and take in the beautiful surroundings and be thankful for being in a place that you love. And as always remember that we do live in Montana, a place where the temperature change on an hourly basis so always be prepared, wear the appropriate attire, stay hydrated, and watch the weather. It’s easy to forget the time and how far you may have hiked back when the weather changes and you find yourself trying to run back to the car, so always if you can carry a headlamp this time of year just in case this happens to you! Stay Safe and have fun!