Hiking in the Winter
Hi everyone and Happy 2019 to you! With all the holidays over and life slowing back down a little, I still have only managed to get two hikes in so far. But, to my defense, we have a new puppy, Ranger, that is now 24 weeks old and keeping me busy. If you have ever trained a puppy or had one in the house, then you totally get it. Eventually he will be going on all of my future hikes with me. But right now with the poor little guy drooling and drooling during the car ride getting to the trails, he just gets to go every now and then. He sure loves walking in the woods, though! Which brings me to my latest hike and actually the reason for this post. We did get out yesterday, but I do not have trail details or pictures this time, for three reasons. First is because of Ranger getting a little car sick. Second, I was not well prepared. And third, the road that led to the trail I had planned on hiking, was closed.
I want to make sure you know of the few roads that are temporarily closed in the Red River Gorge area. Chimney Top road...Rock Bridge road...and Tunnel Ridge road. From what I can see, there have not been any updates on the US Forest Service web page about them. But they are just a phone call away. They also have a Facebook page that shares information about road closures. So before you head out to hike a certain trail, make sure it is not off of one of these roads. And folks, make sure to thank these people for taking good care of our gravel roads in the gorge! They truly do a wonderful job!
With the cold weather we are getting these next few days, it makes me want to remind everyone and encourage you all to 'dress like an onion'....in layers. The goal is to be warm enough without getting sweaty. Being cold is one thing. Being cold AND wet is definitely something to avoid if at all possible.
You will also want to make sure that someone knows the exact trail you plan on hiking. You should do this anyways, but in the winter for sure. If something would happen, the last thing you would want is to be stuck out in the freezing cold weather at night. If someone realized you haven't called or you aren't home yet, they can hopefully lead the rescue teams to your location.
And last, always pack some essentials...water, a snack, pocket knife, phone and a portable charger, first aid, headlamp/flashlight, a whistle, fire-starter and if possible an extra pair of socks and any other piece of clothing you think you might need and maybe even one of those survival blankets. It may sound like a lot, especially if you are just planning a short day hike. But what if?? You just never know what could happen.
So get outdoors and take a hike! Don't let old man winter keep you inside all winter long! Grab that camera, have fun and be safe!
'Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.' - John Muir