Terre Haute Living January/February 2019 - Page 47

come by.” But truth be told, they actually prefer winter’s chill to sweating out the oft-sadistic oppression of summer. “Ice can put a damper on everything,” Leturgez says, “but I prefer the cold to the horri- ble heat and humidity.” “This is a beautiful day,” McKinney exults. “We’ll be lamenting it when it gets really cold and later. But the air is cleaner.” “And with the leaves all down, you can see everything,” her daughter adds. “It’s beauti- ful when they’re up, but you see lots of squirrels and wildlife. And there’s no competition” on the trails — Leturgez and McKinney pretty much have the whole park to themselves. The two women are among the minority of Hoosiers who enjoy exercise in the out- doors during the winter months, though that’s changing. Indiana State Parks are among many of those in the country offering First Day Hikes on Jan. 1, to work off those excess holiday calories. Last year, though temperatures across the state hovered near zero, thou- sands of hikers turned out; in some parks, according to Angie Manuel, the system’s Chief of Interpretations (a fancy title for, approximately, “boss”), they numbered around 100. “Hiking is a spring summer and fall activity — you could be there with 100,000 of your closest friends,” Manuel says. “But in the winter, you could be there with just 100 other people. A lot of people like to go to State Parks in the wintertime because they get the experience they’re looking for, but it’s less crowded; it’s quieter. Sometimes” — as in the case of Leturgez and McKinney — “you have the place to yourself.” Trail 4 in Turkey Run State Park leads First Day hikers up a long, steep set of stairs as they near the suspension bridge on their way back west through the park. tribstar.com/terrehauteliving January/February 2019 • Terre Haute Living 47