One Love

One Love
"We need to move beyond the idea of 'environment' and fall back in love with Mother Earth." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hiking in the Winter

Let me start by saying that I don't do cold weather. That being said, I have really enjoyed hiking the Ozarks this winter. Over the past few years, I have slowly been accumulating better gear for outdoor activities; the proper gear makes all the difference in the world. The first hike of the New Year was Kings River Falls, it was about 15 degrees.

I was only cold for about a mile and it was slightly uncomfortable to take my gloves off to tinker with my camera; however, it was an awesome day. I wore a hat, gaiter, gloves, winter hiking socks, thermal pants and shirt, fleece pants and shirt and windproof pants and coat and my new waterproof hiking boots. Layering up and braving the cold turned out to be well worth it. 

I have really come to appreciate winter hiking for several reasons. The trails are typically quite, we didn't see anyone at Kings River Falls. Once warm, you can regulate your body temperature easily by adding and removing layers. It is easier to bushwhack because much of the derbies is buried or dead and there is NO poison ivy. The downside is when you stop to eat lunch it gets cold again pretty quickly.

There are some extra precautions to take when hiking in the winter with your dogs. The German Shepherd and Australian Cattle Dog have thick fur coats and don't really need much protection in fair weather. The Pit Bull on the other hand has a very short thin coat and gets cold easily, we choose to put her in a coat while winter hiking to prevent hypothermia. In the Ozarks, be aware if you are hiking during hunting season. I suggests wearing a bright color and putting a bight color (such as a bandana) on your dog if you even think you may be hiking around hunters.

During an easy fall hike, my Cattle Dog tore her paw pad, I didn't realize it until we were back at the car. Dogs are good at disguising injuries so make sure to check their paws before after hiking. I am now on the lookout for a good pair of dog boots to have on hand in case we are on a trail and another pad is torn. Also remember to pack plenty of water for you and your dog to prevent dehydration.

Where have your winter excursions taken you?

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