Winter hiking can be a great way to combat the inaction and depression that may accompany the colder, darker months of the year, but safety concerns must also be considered. Early darkness is one of the first things to keep in mind when planning a winter hike. Starting earlier in the day will help you make the most of the daylight. People should also be aware that they will probably not travel the same distances that they would in summer and plan accordingly.
There are several other factors specific to winter weather that will affect planning. The body needs more calories to stay warm in winter. If there is snow, it may cover trail markers. A trail map and a compass can help with navigation in these situations. Snacks that are easy to eat on the move can keep hikers’ energy up.
Winter hiking means being prepared to call it a day early and turn around rather than pressing on in uncertain or unsafe conditions. Weather conditions should be checked before heading out, and if there is a snowstorm coming, it is best to stay home.
It is crucial to stay warm and hydrated while hiking in the winter. This means buying the right clothing and the right gear. The right shoes can be especially important since they need to keep feet warm and dry and keep hikers upright in snow or ice. Crampons, microspikes, and snowshoes are all options.
A thermos full of a hot drink or soup can help keep hikers warm. People should know the signs of hypothermia so they can act quickly if it begins to set in. Being cold, wet, and exhausted are all dangerous conditions that could lead to hypothermia, which causes slurred speech, poor judgment, lethargy, and uncontrollable shivering.
Even for a short winter hike of just a couple of hours, people should bring necessities such as snacks and water and take safety precautions. Winter hikes can be beautiful and refreshing, and people should not let the weather keep them inside. However, they should be cautious and plan for potentially truncated outings and should not hesitate to end the hike early if necessary.