Hiking In Providence Canyon State Park - Of all the things I've done in Columbus (which may not seem like many considering this list) this was probably one of my favourite outings. Providence Canyon is about an hour away from Columbus, and it delivers what you'd expect given its name. A friend a few weeks back described it as a 'mini Grand Canyon,' and in a way they're likely right. I went out there with the Uni's outdoors club, which I recently joined. They run bi-weekly ventures out of Columbus to take in some of the state's more scenic sites. After living almost exclusively in the city it was nice to reconnect with nature, something I think I take for granted in the UK. It was almost a relief to walk through a forest instead of past a lone tree on a street corner; it was a relief likewise to catch the scent of pine trees wafting on clear country air as opposed to being blasted by fuel fumes from loud trucks. If we were silent there then everywhere was silent, and at its best Providence Canyon was beautiful, truly. Our group of ten just sort of wandered around for five hours, but that was sort of what I'd wanted to do anyway, climbing crumbling canyon walls and ducking under trees alongside the small stream intersecting the canyon. Several trails run through the canyon, and each takes in a different site or stretch of woodland, giving views over sprawling forests. I think I was a week away from forgetting that places like that exist outside of Columbus, so the day out served as a solid reminder. It's probably nicer in summer, but I was a fan of it at the end of winter, if you can consider winter in Columbus to be comparable to the English definition of 'winter' - I'm still recovering from the sunburn I got that day. Then again, I get sunburnt everywhere.
Found the best coffee shop in Columbus - Maybe I've seen too many episodes of Friends, but part of the charm of American life seems to be the opportunity to pass the day in a cosy coffee shop with friends. It took me a little while, but I finally found that place in Columbus, and I intend to spend a good amount of time there during the remainder of the semester. The place is called 'Midtown Coffee' if you're ever passing through - thank me later. They also put on an open mic night every Thursday as well as live music on Saturday nights. I’ve been to both and they’ve proved to be good times; the place is small and quaint so there’s a decent atmosphere almost of all of the time. It’s also a good place to work for a few hours; I managed to write 4,000 words there in a few hours, so I guess their coffee got the creative juices flowing. Apparently I just missed a trivia night all about the UK version of The Office, so that's a shame - I would've aced it.
Cycled the Columbus Riverwalk - The Riverwalk is a 22-mile trail running (for the most part) alongside the Chattahootchee River, probably one of America's better named rivers. Granted, it's no Mississippi (in name or scope), but it makes for a nice scenic cycle, which I undertook on a Saturday off during February. The trail is a leisurely one, mostly flat and paved with gravel, and it takes in some decent spots, carrying you out of Columbus and into the cou0ntryside. It's easy to forget that there's some nature surrounding the city of Columbus, and the riverwalk is a decent escape, weaving all the way down to neighbouring military camp Fort Benning. I rented a bike for $10 and set off at lunch, returning around five hours later to catch a shuttle back to my house. It was a welcome break, a peaceful one, and I've recommended it to friends since.