HEAD TO THE TREES: The news that outdoors-minded outfitters REI would close on Black Friday thrung around the internet in the days ahead of Halloween 2015. The hashtag accompanying the story said it all: #OptOutside, and the company said it would pay employees to get out and enjoy nature. It might be early yet to call this a larger movement of sorts, but a number of travelers who find themselves at remote destinations for the November holiday will already be doing just that over the days before and after Thanksgiving (and on the holiday itself, of course). They'll be under the sky, and beneath the trees, hiking or snowshoeing or bird-watching or just breathing some crisp fall air deep into the far-down-deepest reaches of their lungs. And while free-roaming and doing your own thing on that famously unstructured day -- well, unstructured for those who have a vacation day to take -- is a gas, there are ranger-led walks in our bigger parks, and boat-cool outings on the ocean, and, in the mountains, near Mammoth, some strolls beneath the light of our lunar neighbor.
HOLIDAY FULL MOON TOURS... are a bit of a Tamarack Lodge tradition, and they're still a bit off-beat, too, because evening programs grow rather rarer after summer wraps its run. "Experience a Winter Wonderland by Moonlight," the site implores, and you can do just that in the days leading up to Turkey Day, if you're staying at or near Tamarack. Cost is fifty five bucks and this includes "equipment, guide for the evening, trail access, and a fireside hot beverage inside Tamarack Lodge." The whole sky-big shebang takes about 90 minutes, and it begins at the very-after-dark time of 7 o'clock. Should you bundle up? You absolutely should. Should you be bummed if your Thanksgiving plans take you elsewhere? Not at all, dear wild-world lover; there are more Full Moon Walks at Tamarack to come, with another holiday set happening just ahead of Christmas. Will you choose to #optoutside more this winter, even if it means pausing beneath a pine to admire its branches and the birds above? The word on the street is nature is rather good for us, regardless of the date on the calendar.