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Top Ten Outdoor Events for January 2023

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Just like waking up to fresh snowfall, January provides a perfectly clean slate for pursuing your wildest outdoor goals for 2023. We're absolutely STOKED for all that this new year will bring for Detroit's outdoors, starting with these top 10 outdoor events for January.

There's something beautiful about waking up on the morning of January 1st. The past year's successes and failures are logged into the annals of history. Everyone is provided with a perfectly clean slate - a blank canvas of a calendar year, ready for you to illustrate a portrait of adventures yet to be experienced.

Even though January still falls squarely within Detroit's "off-season" for outdoor recreation, we strongly advise that you build on any momentum that you gained during the tail-end of 2022 and keep getting outside. In fact, we've argued repeatedly that now is the single best season for recreating in our natural environment. The colder, darker days act as an antithesis to crowds, fair-weather adventurers, and other human elements that detract from an outdoor experience.

In other words, if you're training for spring races, looking for natural solitude, or simply hate sharing the trail with the masses, then January is your time to shine. These top 10 events are intended for recreationists wired just like you, and we can't wait to see you at one, two, or all of these events!

1. Kick Off the New Year with a First Day Hike

January 1st | Maybury State Park | 10 a.m.

If you're reading this article, then I'm willing to bet that one of your New Year's Resolutions involves getting outside more. Well, why not kick off the year on the right foot with a morning hike at one of the Detroit region's most accessible state parks? The Friends of Maybury State Park are hosting a family-friendly "First Day Hike" on New Year's Day, setting off from the main Trailhead Building off of the park's 8 Mile entrance. The guided hike will set off at 10 a.m., but you are also welcome to hike the trails on your own throughout the day (you may just see us on the trails late morning/pre-Lions game). All pets must be on a six-foot leash at all times, and light refreshments will be available after the guided hike. No preregistration is required for this event.

2. Complement your Adventures with a Virtual Challenge

Throughout January | Anywhere

A "Virtual Challenge" - we apologize in advance if that phrase triggers pandemic lockdown-era PTSD. We 1,000% agree that the return of in-person, live events were a welcomed sign of the end of COVID's reign of tyranny over our recreational livelihoods. However, one pandemic relic that we hope does not vanish entirely from the outdoor economy is virtual challenges that can - and should - inspire and complement your training schedules, races, and generally outdoor expeditions.

There are near infinite virtual challenges that you could join, but we'd like to highlight the challenges sponsored by 52 Hike Challenge and the monthly running challenges sponsored by our friends at RF Events. The "52 Hike Challenge" comprises of an annual goal for participants to complete an average of one, 1-mile hike per week. There are also other, short "Series" that 52 Hikes sponsors, including a special "Winter Series," as well as series involving hikes with pets, kids, and a special "Adventure Series" that we're particularly interested in. RF Events' monthly challenges feature specific, running-focused goals over a given calendar month, with January's "Winter Wonderland Adventure" challenge 1,000+ minutes of activity - the number of minutes it would take to get from adventure to adventure from Detroit to Ironwood in the western U.P.

3. Capitalize on Extended Archery Season

Throughout January | Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties in Michigan

If you're still looking for your first deer of the season, let me start by offering my condolences - I've been in this position before, and it sucks. Plain and simple. But, let me offer some relief to your season-long frustration: especially if you live and hunt in Macomb, Oakland, or Wayne counties, there is an extended archery season in place through January 31st. A deer license, deer combo license, or antler-less deer license are valid during this extended season.

Similar to last month's advisory, if you have an unfilled antler-less tag, please consider harvesting a doe and donating the venison to a local food bank. Conservation in action goes much farther than any decision made in the field - we thank you in advance for assisting both the DNR in whitetail population maintenance and our neighbors in need of a hearty meal.

4. Take on the Abominable Snowman Ride

January 7th | Pinckney State Recreation Area | 12 p.m.

Forget the deniers: the Abominable Snowman exists, and it rips on a mountain bike. Don't just take our word for it, though - the Potawatomi Mountain Biking Association is hosting its annual Abominable Snowman Ride at the Glenbrook Yurt in Pinckney State Recreation Area. Riders are welcome to join in on as much or little of the scheduled 5 hour ride as they would like, and a post-ride bonfire is on the agenda!

5. Earn your "New Year Good Karma" at a DNR Volunteer Workday

Throughout January | Island Lake, Highland, and Bald Mountain State Recreation Areas and Belle Isle State Park | 9 a.m.

Another common New Year's Resolution includes doing more to make this world a better place. Volunteering your time, donating your money, or contributing to charity in a va