Believe it or not, there are many reasons why winter hiking can be even more enjoyable than its summertime counterpart.
Think about it:
- No bugs!
- No humidity!
- No crowds!
But there are a few really important things to consider before heading outside for a winter-time adventure. The list below includes some of the things that we’ve learned from our own adventures and wanted to share with you:
- Layers! It’s cold when you get out of the car, but once you get going you’ll quickly work up some body heat. Wear layers you can peel off as you move along the trail. Throw your layers in your backpack because once you reach your destination (or the weather changes) you may want to put them right back on.
- Forget those water bottle holders on your hiking backpack — instead, wrap your water bottle in an extra layer and stash your bottle inside your bag . Water bottles will quickly freeze in the stretchy holders on the outside of your bag.
- Extra socks — even with the warmest snow boots, it’s an especially wonderful treat to throw on a fresh pair of socks for the ride home. Keep them in your backpack or a jacket pocket during your adventure and they’ll stay warmer than if you left them in the car.
- Ski Poles – sure, you can spend lots of money on fancy hiking poles (which do work really well) or….you can go to your local dump store and look for some well loved, and funky colored, old ski poles! Poles are so helpful for keeping your balance on snowy trails. And if you like them, you can use them year-round!
And the number one tip:
- TRACTION!! Whether it’s a pair of snowshoes or micro-spikes (our favorite) you’ll be amazed at the benefit of some extra traction. New this year: if you join us on one of our scheduled hikes or walks we have an awesome new fleet of snowshoes to loan out! Let us know ahead of time and we’ll make sure to have a set ready to go for you. If you want your own, Reny’s usually has some great deals on snowshoes and other traction devices, but don’t forget to check out eBay or Facebook marketplace to see if your neighbor has some they no longer use.
Start small (join us for a winter-time walk at Pondicherry Park in Bridgton or check out the Spiller Homestead Loop at Raymond Community Forest with a friend) and then work up to more challenging winter hikes on Loon Echo preserve lands such as Bald Pate and Pleasant Mountain.
See you on the trails!