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Winter Hiking

 Jay, Bird, Konar, Winter

 When Does Winter Begin

Interestingly , winter begins at the same time, everywhere , for all of us . This year (2015) the winter solstice occurs on Tuesday ,  December 22 at 04: 49 GMT ( Universal Time ) .

The winter solstice only happens when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of – 23.5 degrees . This is when the North Pole is tilted the furthest away from the sun , giving us the fewest hours of sunlight in the year .

How To Deal With Winter

For me , the winter season , in the outdoors , is one of quiet and pure white cleanliness . In the forest , in the parks and on the trails , a beautiful clean white powder covers the earth . A new season has begun and with it a new festival of activities to occupy my time . My Camping , Hiking and Photography take on a whole new life . They have to be modified for the cold and the snow . The 3-season attitude has to be adjusted to – winter !

Winter means , first of all , an adjustment to colder temperatures . Carrying more equipment over snow becomes the new reality . Clothing and especially dressing in layers becomes the new reality . The effort becomes greater and this increased workload causes us to sweat more  and with it the possibility of wet clothing . This can be a killer . You cannot afford to be wet and cold under any circumstance !

Dressing In Layers

Unless you are using traditional Inuit clothing , such as reindeer skin – You must dress in layers !

This is basically and simply ; a base layer , a mid layer and an outer layer . Layering lets you build a climate around your body . This climate can then be adapted to moisture , temperature , wind , and of course – your level of exertion .

The BASE LAYER , or underwear , is extremely important because it is in direct contact with your skin . Its function is to transport moisture away from your skin and disperse it into the outer layers where it can evaporate .

The MID LAYER provides insulation and and also continues the moisture transport from the base layer . Mid layers often have zippers to allow for venting .

The OUTER LAYER protects you from the elements and should permit good air circulation and allow moisture to escape .

Now that your body is covered , apply the same principles to your hands and and feet . All that remains now is a good hat . Remember your grandmother’s saying , ” if your feet are cold , put on your hat ” !

Now that you are properly dressed for the season , pick your sport or activity and ENJOY !

Many of these products can be found at http://mec.ca

Hiking In Winter

Except for walking , Hiking , is perhaps the easiest activity to get involved in . Walking takes place near home or back and forth to work or to the office .

Hiking takes place a little further from home and work . Get away from the city . Find a trail that no one has walked on . This is surprisingly easy to do . Walk along a river , along a beach near the ocean or around a lakeshore . Simply , be there early . YOU will be making the first tracks in this fresh snow . Soon , you will begin to see animal tracks . They will either be mammals or birds . Now you will realize how much wildlife activity takes place here .

Many of these mammal tracks will have been made at night . Lynx , Bobcat , Weasels and Rabbits will leave their tracks in this fresh snow and they are easy to identify . Birds , on the other hand , will track the snow mostly during the daylight hours , unless you are lucky enough to find an ” owl strike “ . The owl is an accomplished hunter in the snow and this ‘ strike ‘ is quite impressive , if it registers well .

Soon , cell phone cameras will be recording these magnificent scenes to bring back and show to your friends and family .

As you take a moment to realize all this beauty that surrounds you , you feel the warmth of your cheeks , the smiles and colors of other cheeks and realize what a beautiful day this is and how simple and enjoyable it is . You’ve been walking for hours and you feel – refreshed !

In the distance you see  the cabin roof and soon you’ll be sitting near an open fire enjoying a cup of your favorite beverage . What a wonderful experience !
Winter, Season, Snow, Cold, Old Cabin

 

 

Paul

I am an avid outdoors enthusiast, and I spend most of my free time in the great outdoors. The mountains and rivers, ... and everything in between ... is always calling me. Nature is my sanctuary.

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