Winter hiking is an adventure that everyone should embark on at some point. I realize that if you live in the south, you may not appreciate the idea of walking down hiking trails in the snow enduring cold temperatures and falling snow. True, this could turn out to be a miserable experience if you donâ€™t prepare properly. But, if you take the time to make sure you are ready for the cold climate, I believe winter hiking is an experience that everyone can enjoy.
The first thing to consider when preparing for winter hiking is how warm to dress. I would suggest the more layers of clothes, the better. If it turns out to be a warm day, you can always take off a layer or two, but if you find yourself on a bitterly cold day without proper clothing, you could be stuck out there in total misery. To protect your hands, wear mittens and not gloves.
The next thing to think about is how to keep your feet warm. You will accomplish this by wearing leg gaiters to keep the snow out of your boots. Speaking of feet, the choice of footwear for most winter hikers is snowshoes. They are useful to navigate the deep snow covering the winter hiking trails. Use ski poles in combination with your snowshoes to deal with the especially deep patches of snow.
Finally, make sure you have your head protected as much as possible. This is very important. Always have extra warm clothes to cover your head in case of very strong winds. Ski masks are a good choice, perhaps with an extra pair of ear warmers on top of the mask. Then, have an extra thick stocking cap in your gear to put on if it gets especially cold. Oh, and donâ€™t forget the sunglasses, you will probably need them.