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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Winter Hiking

Winter Hiking

Hiking In The Pristine Paradise of Winter
By John Grimes

When the year turns to the winter months, many people pack up their outdoors gear and wait for the warmer weather of spring. If this is your tack, you are missing out on the joys of winter hiking.

Hiking In The Pristine Paradise of Winter

The winter presents some excellent opportunities to get outside and discover a second side to places you commonly frequent. Most people, however, never take advantage of the opportunity. When the mercury drops in the thermometer, they hole up for the winter. If you do so, you will be missing out on a winter wonderland that is often stunning.

It is amazing how much a place can change with the seasons. I can guarantee you that a favorite hike is much different in winter than it is in summer. The air is crisper. The surroundings are blanketed in an almost dream like quietness. In many places, it may be blanketed in snow. Alas, this presents you with the opportunity to experience a serene, beautiful winter paradise. Without the hubbub of summer, it will seem like an entirely new scene.

Going hiking in the winter is obviously different than in the warmer months. First off, you need to use a bit of common sense. If you are going to head out on a trail, make sure you check the weather first so you know if anything is coming. There are plenty of places on the internet now where you can get accurate forecasts and actually see a radar image of your area. Check them! You do not want to be a couple of hours into your hike and face a snow or rain storm.

The second tip also involves common sense. Dress warmly! It is true that you will start to generate lots of body heat while hiking, but you should still over dress. Remember, you can always take clothing off if you get hot. Unless you are carrying your closet with you, however, it is hard to add clothing in the middle of your hike.

There are a couple of other things you should do differently for winter hikes. First, make sure to tell someone where you are going in case something happens. Second, take water with you because you will still need hydration. Third, wear sun protection and lip balm because the sun doesn’t care if it is hot or cold when it is beating down on your exposed face, neck and lips. Fourth, take a camera so you can take pictures of the stunning scenes around you.

Hiking in winter is definitely something you should consider doing if at all possible. It presents you with an opportunity to see your favorite haunts in an entirely new light.

John Grimes is with All Terrain - makers of natural products for the outdoors.

For The Love Of The Outdoors

Robin and Val

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Winter Hiking