Why You Should Still Be Hiking In The Dead of Winter
T-minus: 115 days
If you have read my previous post about fall hiking, then you can probably tell that I believe there is a lot of hiking to be done outside of the May-September gap that many people consider to be “hiking season”. Each new period brings a different life and experience to the woods, especially when you live somewhere that gets the extremes of all four seasons like many parts of the Appalachians. And believe it or not, winter has quite a few reasons why you should put on a warm pair of socks and keep exploring…
1. Stay in Shape for Summer Hiking
Keeping your trail legs up all year around will help you get big miles in during the summer months. Even doing a couple miles a week on snowy trails will make sure that come warmer weather, you don’t have to spend precious days getting back in shape.
2. Less Crowds
Most people don’t exactly enjoy sharing a narrow trail up a mountain with 100 of their closest friends, and lucky for you, the trails are empty and private during the colder months. Hiking in the winter allows you to relax and notice all the amazing sounds of the forest, without hearing the constant chatter from the swarms of fellow hikers. You would be amazed just how still and quiet the woods are after a snow storm…
3. More Views
We all know that feeling: You spend a few hours climbing to the top of a peak, only to be rewarded with a bunch of lush green trees that are blocking the view. Simply put, when the trees are bare you can see further and have uninterrupted look out points.
4. If You Can Hike Now, You Can Hike In Anything
Winter hiking is tough: cold air in your lungs, sweat mixed with freezing temperatures, frozen water bottles…. but if you can survive in these extreme conditions, then you can take anything! Next time you are climbing that super steep peak, just remember all those painfully cold days you spent in the woods and suddenly that mountain will seem like a walk in the park!
5. Snow And Ice Make The Woods Look Magical
There is nothing more beautiful than a forest sparkling with freshly fallen snow and glistening icicles. Although challenging at times to walk though, hiking in the snow is one of the most surreal experiences as the same trail that you have been trekking for years suddenly transforms into a place you have never seen before. This winter wonderland comes with dangers though. Always be sure to watch your step on slippery terrain, and always bring extra layer in case you get wet!
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