Outdoors

Sledding can leave you happy - and sore

The Nature Call: Nothing like a day on a snow-covered hill

A snow-covered hill at Squaw Creek Park is a welcome site for those who love to sled in the winter. (John Lawrence Hanson/correspondent)
A snow-covered hill at Squaw Creek Park is a welcome site for those who love to sled in the winter. (John Lawrence Hanson/correspondent)
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My lumbar still was aching as I write this column.

It’s hard to forget my outing last month on the sledding hill when every other move I make reminds me of it. I’m trying to think of it as a “good” hurt.

Our snow drought was slaked on Jan. 12. The next day my party was finally able to take to a hill and put gravity to work.

I’m not trying to be nostalgic, but isn’t a hill full of folks — especially kids — sledding a great sight? It’s not nostalgic because we still have these impromptu conventions of joy in our area when Mother Nature cooperates.

For a child, a hill can be a mountain — and just as wonderful. For an out of shape adult, a hill can feel like mountain. But we need to climb it because it’s there. Sledding is certainly a preferable activity to another hour agog at a screen.

Sledding is a chance to celebrate us. A pastime Walt Whitman would have extolled: no lift fees, no dress codes, no privilege. A great leveling activity. Out of flattery I offer the below lines of verse in the style of the American bard:

I hear America sledding, shouts of joy ring clear

Those children, each one inflating a voice so strong.

The parents all are calling, with a wave and cheer

Dogs and uncles do their part; t’is fun, not work.

Up and down they go, repeating, no charge

Sledding with open hearts and eyes, their festive life.

Our familiar runs are as worthy of a visit as you’d do for a museum or paid event: Pinicon Ridge, Roosevelt School, Jones Park, Squaw Creek, Thomas Park and Bowman Woods. Get your passport stamped.

You really need to get out to a local hill at least once this season. Perhaps some aches and pains will be a small reminder of a good time spent in pursuit of some old-fashioned fun.

Looking up, looking ahead, and keeping my pencil sharp.

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l John Lawrence Hanson, Ed.D., of Marion teaches U.S. history with an emphasis on environmental issues at Linn-Mar High School and sits on the Linn County Conservation Board.

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