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Seize these wintry days

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As winter weather visits the Upper Delaware River region, the temptation to stay indoors can be overwhelming. We find ourselves becoming more sedentary, when what we really need is to gear up with layered clothing and head out into the bracing air and stark beauty of the season.

One local hike worth the heart-pounding effort of the uphill climb, and leading to equally heart-thumping views of Honesdale, PA, is known as the Irving Cliff Trail. The site was named after Washington Irving—the author of such fictional works as “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”—in response to Irving’s passionate admiration of the cliff and its commanding view.

It is also the site where the elegant four-story Irving Cliff Hotel, overlooking that inspiring view, was constructed, but burned to the ground on May 28, 1889, just prior to its scheduled opening on June 22. It was never rebuilt. A large star illuminated during holidays is now located there.

Other trails exist throughout the region, many of which are located on state game or state forest lands. Keep in mind that November 18 is the opening day of Pennsylvania’s bear season (November 18 and 20 to 22), followed by deer season beginning November 27. Always wear ample amounts of fluorescent clothing while hiking such lands.

And if you happen to be enjoying the great outdoors on regional waterways, take note that the mandatory cold-weather life-jacket regulation is currently in place. Here’s how it reads: “A person shall wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD or life jacket) during the cold weather months from November 1st through April 30th while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak.” Learn more at www.fishandboat.com/Boat/BoatingRegulations/Pages/MandatoryPFD.aspx.

If you prefer to hike with the benefit of a guide, take note of the following upcoming opportunities in the region. (Each of these places offers additional hiking trails for public use as well).

• The Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry, PA will host a Winter Ecology Hike on December 2, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Participants of all ages will learn how different plants and animals survive winter (www.peec.org).

• Lacawac Sanctuary in Lake Ariel, PA will help you get into the holiday spirit with a hike to the Adirondack Great Camp, followed by hot cocoa at the Watres Lodge, during its Deck the Halls Tour on December 3, from 1 to 3 p.m. (www.lacawac.org).

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