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Showing posts with label cold weather. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cold weather. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Winter Hiking

Last week, Indiana saw its first snow of the winter season and there was probably no one more excited about in the state than me.  I have always loved winter time and over the years, it has become my favorite time of the year to be out hiking.


Whitetail Deer bedded down during a snowstorm
 I have a hard time explaining why I like it so much, but to me there is no better time to get out and hike through the woods than when the temperatures are in the teens and twenties, and snow has blanketed the landscape.  The air feels more crisp and fresh, there are no biting or stinging bugs, very few other hikers, and due to the lack of leaves, you can see for long distances through the woods.  Even the smallest bird or squirrel's movement is noticeable as they stand out against the white backdrop.

Of course, the key to successful wintertime hiking is planning up front.  Creating a gear list that includes everything you need to bring, and nothing that you don't have to, is essential.  For instance, don't bring snowshoes for a hike in three inch snow.  But on the other hand, don't forget to bring duplicate essentials such as gloves, a hat and dry socks.

If you are planning a day trip, you won't need to bring much camping gear, other than possibly a survival blanket, but you still should items such as the first aid kit, high energy snacks, water, waterproof matches, cell phone, GPS unit, sharp knife and some parachute cord in case you have to rig up a survival shelter or limb splint.

The key to enjoying winter hiking is obviously staying warm.  As I wrote in a previous post about staying warm outdoors, successul hikes are all about staying dry and warm.  In the winter, if you are wet, you are cold, that's just the way it is.  Additionally, hypothermia occurs much faster in a wet hiker than a dry one.   Dressing in loose, layered clothing is essential and cotton should be avoided at all costs.  Other materials are much better at producing insulating layers and wicking moisture away from your body.  The layering concept doesn't just apply to your torso, but should also be considered when covering your hands, feet, legs and head.

When you are winter hiking, be sure to hike along with a friend or if that isn't possible, let someone know your hiking route and the time you expect to be done.  If they haven't heard from you by that time, they will know to possibly contact authorities as well as where to begin looking for you.

With just a few precautions, winter hiking can be an amazing rewarding activity.  It helps build fitness, avoid the winter weight gain so common in some of us, but it is just refreshing to get out in the crisp air and snow.


Bow Adventures - Fall 2012 Edition!