It has always struck me as strange that the meteorological beginning of winter is well into December. Where I live it feels like winter begins in early November. As we hang onto the last vestiges of Autumn, my favorite season, we still want to get out on the trail for some walks and hikes. Here are my four key tips for getting out on the trail during this transitional season.
1 LAYERS! It is best to dress yourself and the kids in layers for late Autumn and early Winter hikes. I also recommend that you don’t start will all the layers that you think you may need. What you want to avoid is working up too much of a sweat. If you bundle up and hit the trail hard, your body will try to cool itself down by sweating no matter what the thermometer says. You will end up being even colder as the sweat dries in the cold air.
Start with your base layer and one more. Bring any extras layers you think you may need along in a backpack. You could also go totally 90’s and tie your sweatshirt or jacket around your waist. I’m not saying I recommend that, just that it is an option.
2 GREAT SOCKS! Wool socks are a trail family’s best friend. This may seem to go against my last paragraph about sweat. If you happen to be someone with ultra-sweaty feet, then maybe cotton is a better choice for you. However many of us tend to struggle to keep our toes toasty. I was skeptical of wool socks at first. You’re probably thinking what I was thinking. These socks will be way too itchy and my feet will sweat like crazy! I have come to love my wool socks. Occasionally, if the weather is warmer than I anticipated, I change out of my wool socks. Usually, however, I’m very glad that I wore them.
EXTRA SOCKS! Carry extra socks of both wool and other varieties. Yes, I’m still going on about socks. Think about the fact that when you are walking or hiking, your feet are your mode of transportation. It is a top priority to keep your feet happy and healthy. Perhaps your feet are getting too sweaty. Maybe you try out a new brand of sock and you realize a few miles in that they are not working for you. Follow the Boy Scout’s advice and “Be prepared.” You’ll be glad you did.
3 BRING A WARM DRINK! And all the coffee lovers gave a hearty AMEN. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need much motivation to fill up my travel mug with a smooth brew. The kids will love having hot chocolate or even tea. They will probably feel pretty grown up getting to bring along a travel mug or thermos with their very own hot beverage. Your delicious liquids will help warm you from the inside out.
4 BRING A SNACK! This is good advice any time of year. You will be burning calories as you walk or hike so you need to replace them. Energy bars are great. We have been enjoying both the LABARA and KIND brands lately. Trail mix might be a little tricky if you decide to wear gloves. For a warm treat, you might put some oatmeal in a thermos or travel mug. Just don’t forget your spoon!
Remember that digestion takes hydration and energy. If you consume your food too quickly, your digestive system will draw hydration away from your muscles. You may also end up with an uncomfortable lump in your stomach. Be sure to eat and drink slowly as you walk or during a break.
These are just a few of our tips for making late autumn hike more comfortable and enjoyable for the whole family. What would you add to our list? Let us know in the comments. We would love to hear from you!
Thanks for taking the time to read our post. To make following this blog easier, sign up to receive TRAIL FAMILY blog posts in your email (be sure to mark emails from Trailfamily.blog “not junk”) You can follow us on Instagram at trailffamilylife. Check out our videos on our YouTube channel TrailFamilyLife. Like us on Facebook at TrailFamily.