If you’ve wondered what winter hiking looks like, here’s a picture of Earl and I as we meandered thru the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park in Turner, Maine, this morning.
The temps were in the single digits. Brrrrr… I kept chuckling each time I looked at Earl and saw the icicles in his beard getting longer and longer.
Are you wondering what one wears on such a cold day? Here’s what I had on for layers starting at the top and working my way down.
Head/neck: Hat and buff. The buff was pulled up over my head partway so that it covered my cheeks and chin a bit. Each time I brought it over my mouth or nose my glasses fogged up. But my face really didn’t feel cold.
Upper body: Merino wool camisole, two merino wool mid-weight tops, a heavier weight merino wool hoodie (you can see the hoodie in the photo below) and a windbreaking shell. Yes, that’s a lot of layers and Earl is quick to tell me that I have too many on. But we have to hike our own hike and dress for our own hike. I knew that I could take layers off if I got too warm… which I did after a couple of miles. But I have to tell you, when we started out I was grateful for each an every ounce of warmth I was wearing!
Hands: Thin liner gloves and heavier Thinsulate gloves. When we started out my hands were extremely cold (I was only wearing the Thinsulate gloves when we started. After about 10 minutes I admitted that my fingers were freezing (uncomfortably so) and pulled on the liner gloves. It took about five minutes for the painful tingling sensation to kick in as my fingers warmed up and another five minutes or so before they felt warm again. Next time we go out I am going to get my fingers moving and the blood flowing to them before we hit the trail to see if that helps.
Lower body: Low-temp long underwear and my normal nylon hiking pants
Feet: Heavy-weight merino wool socks and insulated winter boots
Was I warm enough? After I took care of my fingers, I was definitely warm enough. One thing to be careful about when hiking in the winter is to manage your layers so you don’t start sweating. You can do this by slowing down, taking breaks, or as I did, removing a layer.