Opt Outside

My mom informed me earlier today that for a few years when I was younger, we used to go shopping on Black Friday. My grandparents stayed with us every other Thanksgiving, and it was the perfect time for them to get their holiday shopping done with my mom there to give them ideas. I have no recollection of these outings; for me, the day after Thanksgiving has always meant lounging around in my pajamas and continuing to eat leftover turkey. 

This year, though, REI announced their Opt Outside campaign, followed by the Minnesota DNR announcing free admission to Minnesota State Parks all day Friday, and I knew I had found my new Black Friday activity. I've been worried about my ability to re-acclimate to Minnesota's cold weather, since this will be my first winter back after four winters spent living in Los Angeles, and I decided a couple of weeks ago that I just need to dive in right away, because if I wait too long, I might not go back outside until April, so this was a great test run to see if I am winter-worthy (I wore six layers and my toes didn't get cold, so I think I passed).

My dad, uncle and I drove to Afton State Park to hike along the river bluffs and through the forest, and it was pretty much the perfect day for a wimp like me: temperatures in the twenties, the still-warm sun shining brightly, and lots of people and dogs bundled up and excited to be outside - the parking lot was packed, which made my heart so, so happy. Plus, we got our first snowfall on Thanksgiving, so there was fresh white stuff clinging to tree branches making the scenery extra pretty. Obviously the option to go outside on Black Friday has always been available, but it's fun to have it be an Official Thing To Do, and hopefully it jumpstarts a new tradition for lots of people (including myself). I'm all jacked up on nature right now. This is the kind of post-Thanksgiving activity I can get behind.

Happy non-shopping Black Friday!