Last weekend the first Hudson Valley saw its first snow storm for the New Year. (I’m still leary after the summer mishap, misstep, or whatever you want to call it!) So for the time being, I’ll do what I normally do during these bleak winter days. I’ll start getting ready for the time when I can get back out into the woods.
What exactly does that mean? First, I’ll get on my stationary bike and just ride, ride and ride some more. Regardless of what is said, I find the stationary bike to be an excellent way to get ready for the many hikes that await me.
Next, I take inventory of what I have and what I need. I find that this is the best time to make some decisions if I need to in order to get my gear straight.
First I start at my head and work my way down. For instance, I have a wool cap that will certainly come in handy during the winter, but also in the early spring when the air is still chilly, especially when you stop for a water break or lunch, it will be useful. Since I just got one of those just a few months ago, I won’t have to replace that.
Moving down, I will almost always wear a t-shirt and a flannel jacket in early to middle spring. Since I tend to run a little hot when I am hiking, this almost always makes it way back into my back at some point during the hike.
For my hands, I never have worn gloves. I sweat way to much and they become very uncomfortable when I am using my trekking poles.
Now for my legs. If it is at all possible, I will wear shorts throughout the year. If it does prove to be to cold for shorts, a pair of sweatpants will do with the shorts underneath. This way I can take them on and off as needed. I’m pretty old school with my clothing. It’s usually cotton or nothing at all.
Now one place I have a drastic change is in my socks. For just under thirty years I have worn cotton socks. Obviously I think you can guess the number of blisters that I have gotten over the years. If not blisters, then definitely hot spots. I think that those are worse than actual blisters.
On a hike a couple of years ago my friend asked me why I didn’t wear Merino Wool socks. I told him flat out that I thought it was crazy to spend that much money on a pair of socks. What an idiot! From the first day of putting on a pair of wool socks I have been a believer. Not one hot spot, not one blister, the feeling is amazing! The only thing that I do every year is check them out for wear and tear. If I need new ones, I will buy them.
Also on my feet let’s take a look at my boots. I have always preferred a pair of heavier boots, even for day hiking. Right now I have a pair of Vasque St. Elias GTX hiking boots that I have now used for three seasons (2 pairs). I have to make a confession here. I thought that the heavier boot and the stiff ankle support would have prevented what happened to me last summer. I gambled and lost that bet! However, I will continue to use them because I love Vasque boots. They are comfortable, sturdy and come in wide sizes. Everything that I need and want in a boot.
I do use Trekking Poles but one of the Black Diamond poles that I use snapped during my fall last summer. They have been replaced and I am saving that for a review at a later time.
So after surviving a weekend with temperatures in the negative numbers and current ones in the high teens to low twenties, I am ready to keep preparing for that inevitable first beautiful day of spring (or winter) where I can just head out and hike!!!
Look for later posts on my trekking poles and my daypack.