Snowy pathways and plummeting temperatures are no deterrent for hiker Eddie Kronenberger.
“I walked to work this morning and had ice form on my eyelids,” he said. “I love hiking during the winter, more so than the summer. Why, you may ask? Well, during the winter I can always put more layers on but, during the warm months, I can never take enough off.”
The Riverside man is not alone, as bitterly cold temperatures haven’t kept hikers off the trails, kids off the sledding hills or families away from the RiverScape outdoor ice rink in recent weeks.
“There’s no season to stay indoors,” said Angie Sheldon, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “Winter offers a whole different view of our parks.”
But while barren branches and a fresh blanket of snow can create a stunning winter landscape, freezing temperatures also mean a bit more planning is needed before venturing out if you want to stay safe and snuggly warm.
“The biggest thing is being prepared for the weather,” Sheldon said. “We always say dress like an onion – if you dress in layers, you can take them off if you get too warm.”
Sheldon suggests the 3 Ws – wicking, warm and weather – when it comes to layers. The wicking layer is often a synthetic material worn closest to the body. The warm layer is for insulation – think fleece or down. And, finally, the outermost weatherproof layer.
“Your body can really warm up fast, depending on what you’re doing, and you don’t want to get overheated so, this way, you can take layers off if you’re sweating,” Sheldon said.
While multiple layers are advisable, too many can be problematic, especially when it comes to footwear.
“Sometimes people have too many pairs of socks on and that can actually restrict circulation,” Sheldon said.
So, make sure you can wiggle your toes after you lace up your boots.
While sunscreen and water seem almost automatic in the summer, they are also necessary in the winter.
“Drinking lots of water will help you stay hydrated and keep the blood flowing,” Sheldon said. “And, especially with the reflective nature of snow, sunscreen and sunglasses are also important.”
Being aware of your body is critical, especially any numbness or tingling. Those are signs that you should get inside and warm up. Parents also need to closely monitor their excited little outdoor enthusiasts.
“Kids can be having too much fun to notice that they need a break or should come inside,” Sheldon said.
MEMBERS OF THE DAYTON HIKERS SHARE THEIR WINTER OUTDOOR TIPS
- When the temperatures get below 10 degrees, I wear a bandana around my neck. I do this so I can cover my face when it gets cold. The bandana it not too hot and I can pull it down when I get too warm. I also like to wear jackets or coats that I can zip up or down to let out the heat or keep it in. When it gets below 0, I try my best to keep all my body parts covered. – Eddie Kronenberger, Riverside
- This is inexpensive and amazing to keep feet warm in cold weather. Use a reflective solar sun shield, remove the insoles from hiking boots, use a marker to trace the outline of boot insoles on the solar shade, cut the solar shade and place the cutouts in the hiking boots. Put the boot insoles back in the hiking boots. The solar shade will help keep the cold out and retain body heat in the boots. I’ve hiked several days when the temperature was in the single digits and my feet stay warm. – Vickie Staley, Waynesville
- Layering is the key to staying warm. For the base layer, wool is highly recommended as it wicks moisture and doesn’t smell. Next layer is fleece to retain body heat and finally, a down jacket to protect you from the elements – waterproof is highly encouraged. For bottoms, a wool base layer, then soft shell pants lined with fleece is a good option. I wear wool socks for warmth and comfort. For boots, insulation is important, so finding one with a rating of 200g or 400g can help you retain heat. As far as accessories, I suggest a fleece-lined beanie, scarf, insulated gloves, and traction cleats for your footwear if you’re out in icy or snowy terrain. – Lawrence Solmiano, Beavercreek
BUNDLE UP AND GO – FROZEN GORGE HIKE
What: Snow piled on tree branches, frozen waterfalls and crackling snow underfoot will be sought during a free Greene County Parks & Trails naturalist-led hike
When: Saturday, Jan. 13, 1 p.m.
Where: Indian Mound Reserve, Cedar Cliff Falls parking lot, 2575 U.S. 42 East, Cedarville
Info: Call 937-562-6440 to ensure the event is still taking place or email email@example.com