Winter can be a tough time to really embrace spending time outdoors. For a bunch of nature lovers over here at Fishers Parks, we all definitely take time to appreciate a sunny day, but still understand and see value in the snowy, sometimes gloomy days, too, whether it’s encouraging the community to safely come outside with us at a pop-up event, or spending the morning checking on our nature trails or other parks properties.
Here are some of our favorite ways to get outside this winter and experience some ecotherapy.
Go on the Heart Hike.
Good for your heart and mind, Fishers Parks’ annual Heart Hike is a lowkey local favorite. This year, the Heart Hike, typically one day near Valentine’s Day at one park, will be expanded as socially distant, month-long event.
During the month of February, Holland Park, Heritage Park, and the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater will each be home to their own Heart Hike, featuring more than a dozen nature heart photos. All the photos will incorporate a heart in some way, whether it’s a heart-shaped tree trunk or plant, animals with heart-shaped spots, or insects with heart patterns on their bodies or wings.
On February 13, join Fishers residents in taking part in our Valentine’s Day Heart Hike at Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve. Cozy up to a campfire and find the heart shapes on the nature preserve’s 2.5 miles of trails, all while enjoying a free cup of hot cocoa. Learn more.
Hang out in Mother Nature’s Living Room.
Situated right near the center of Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve is something we lovingly call Mother Nature’s Living Room. If you head straight into the woods on the main path, you’ll eventually come to a “fork” in the trail. If you choose to go to the right, you’ll soon see a series of benches.
These benches are one of the most perfect spots in Fishers to quietly observe nature around you. The loudest thing in this spot is the squirrels running through the woods, but we also often use this spot to see deer, birds, and more. Using your other senses, it’s also a great way to listen to nature. Bugs, birds, trees, and more almost seem amplified in this space.
Watch the sun rise at the top of the Flat Fork Creek Park hill.
In winter, this hill’s claim to fame is that it’s the tallest sledding hill in Hamilton County. But, more often than not, it won’t be covered in snow, meaning that the trail to the top is completely clear. Arrive just as the sun is coming up, make your way to the top of the hill, and just simply observe.
Watch the water at Cheeney Creek Natural Area.
Nearly 2 miles of nature trails encompass this park, but about halfway in lies the park’s real treasure – a beautiful dock that gives you a 180-degree view of the 3-acre pond. Cheeney Creek also is a great spot to fish, as the pond is stocked with large-mouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish.
Play a round of disc golf at Cumberland Park.
There are few on the Fishers Parks team who love playing disc golf, so we’re grateful to be able to share this amenity at Cumberland Park. Because there are 18 tee pads, the course offers two ways to play through the 9 holes. This sport is very casual and recreational. Requiring little physical effort, it’s a great way for all ages and skill levels to do something fun and clear your mind without much pressure.
Follow the Storywalk.
Our free, self-guided reading hikes give the community an outdoor activity through the entire year. Each month, a new book is featured in one of our parks with the help of Hamilton East Public Library. Follow along with a new page on each sign as you take your hike. This month, enjoy “This Jazz Man” by Karen Ehrhardt at Billericay Park. Learn more.