So what if Texas's highest mountain is 700 miles away? The Happy Hikers of Houston have spent the past 25 years combing the county for walkable terrain, and they take to the trails en masse whenever they can. This weekend, they're hosting a group 10K walk, or Volksmarch, at the Houston Arboretum. Volksmarch is the German name for an official but noncompetitive group walk. According to one HHH member, the pastime started in Germany after World War II, when the Germans were looking for "noncompetitive activities" (wonder why). Nowadays, Volksmarches are conducted around the world. At this weekend's event, walkers can go as fast or as slow as they wish, though some are more serious about it than others.
After the walk, members will host a luncheon, so newbies can find out about other HHH activities, like trail work and out-of-town hikes. Admire the scenery from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 4. Houston Arboretum, 4501 Woodway Drive (parking area to the right, inside the main entrance). For information, call 979-478-6203 or visit www.houstonhappyhikers.org. Free; donations encouraged. -- Julia Ramey
When you think of Moody Gardens, you probably think rain forest, not winter wonderland. But don't let that stop you from taking a spin -- or maybe even a quadruple jump -- on the frozen sheet of ice next to the Moody Gardens Discovery Pyramid. To get that frozen-pond feel, the rink is flooded with a fire hose and kept at a nippy 12 degrees. After you practice your leaps and axels, take in Moody Gardens sights like the enormous palm trees and festive lights as you nurse a cup of hot chocolate (the most popular beach beverage around). 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through December 12; open daily from December 16 through January 2. One Hope Boulevard in Galveston. For information, call 800-582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.com. Admission is $4.95; $4 for skate rental. -- Greg Barr
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