Nobody can say with certainty what lies ahead, although a safe guess at the start of an Ohio January would be frigid weather.

Some like it cold. Ice fishermen prefer an extended freeze. The arrival of ice and snow, nonetheless, signals the beginning of many outdoors endings. Some hunting seasons already are finished.

The deer season’s last rush concludes one-half hour after sunset Tuesday with the close of the four-day muzzleloader hunt. Bow hunters have until Feb. 5 to fill a tag.

Hikers enjoy a different, snowy side of a park during this winter hike.

Hikers enjoy a different, snowy side of a park during this winter hike.

The pheasant season ends today. Duck, coot and merganser hunters have a go through Jan. 29. Squirrels, foxes, raccoons, opossum and weasels may be hunted through Jan. 31.

Trappers as well as hunters of geese and rabbit have a bit longer.

Hunting and fishing aren’t the only paths to the outdoors. Backpackers, hikers, trail bikers, wildlife watchers and photographers willing to adjust for the elements can find appealingly empty landscapes to roam during winter months.

Some people prefer walking solo or only in closest company. Others are fine with joining a like-minded crowd as they pick up lore and morsels of information from knowledgeable chaperons.

Those who like their winter encounters with the outdoors to be organized and educational might choose among nearby opportunities to be offered in coming weeks:

• Five-mile hikes along the Rocks to Roots Trail are scheduled Tuesday, 1-3:30 p.m., Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and Feb. 14, 1-3:30 p.m., at Alum Creek State Park. The walk, described as moderately difficult, covers some hills and stream crossings starting at the Park Office, 3615 S. Old State Rd, Delaware.

• A Winter Night Walk focusing on Alum Creek’s animal life is scheduled Jan. 20, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Meet at the Nature Center, 2911 S. Old State Rd., Delaware.

• Four-mile hikes are scheduled on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, 2-4 p.m., on Feb. 11, 2-4 p.m., and on Feb. 22, 2-4 p.m., at the New Galena Picnic Area, 4550 Africa Rd., Galena. Meet at the trailhead for an easy walk along the lake.

• Also at Galena, the Great Backyard Bird Count, set for Feb. 17, 8:30-11 a.m., covers a 4-mile stretch. That afternoon, departure point will be the Alum Creek Park Office, 3615 S. Old State Rd., for a 1-mile, one-hour birding walk scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

• Trekking for Tracks hikes for kids accompanied by an adult are slated Friday, 11 a.m.-noon, and Feb. 10, 2-3 p.m. Meet at the entrance to Alum Creek’s Storybook Trail at the Beach, 3400 Lewis Center Rd., Lewis Center. A Signs of Spring walk is scheduled at Storybook Trail on Feb. 24, 3-4 p.m.

• An Animal Feed and Greet will be held Feb. 11, 11 a.m.-noon. Youngsters accompanied by an adult can learn about and help feed critters living at the Alum Creek Nature Center, 2911 S. Old State Rd., Delaware. A 1-mile Wandering for Woodpeckers walk for kids accompanied by an adult is scheduled Feb. 26, 1-2 p.m. Meet at the Park Office, 3615 S. Old State Rd.

Other coming attractions include hikes at Delaware State Park on Jan. 22 and Feb. 18, at Mount Gilead State Park on Jan. 28 and at Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve on Feb. 23.

Activities include Ohio Boater Education classes at Hebron on Jan. 17 and at Delaware Wildlife Area Shooting Range on Feb. 18 and March 18. A hands-on mammals program in Plain City is scheduled on Jan. 21.

A comprehensive listing of events and activities can be found at the wildohio.gov. For details, click on Events Calendar at the bottom of the page.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Outdoors: As hunting and fishing seasons end, still plenty to do

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