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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hiking: Winter Preparedness

If you are into winter camping and hiking you need to have a good working knowledge of the area you’ll be hiking, and you need to be prepared for a number of possible life threatening contingencies; how to avoid and what to do in the event of an emergency.

Steve Bair, Backcountry, Wilderness and Trails Manager, of the Shenandoah National Park has some great advice for you in this article, “Your Winter Visit to Shenandoah National Park.”

Winter hiking and camping on regional public lands are increasingly popular activities as some visitors seek to enjoy the adventure, challenge, solitude, and special seasonal beauty of the Appalachian mountains. Your winter visit requires that you carefully plan ahead and prepare to assure a serene and safe trip.

Your trip expectations and knowledge of the specific area you will be visiting is of foremost importance. You need to obtain a good trail map to study and plan a hiking route in preparation for your visit. Consider the special travel problems created by snow cover or ice, forecasted harsh weather conditions, steepness of terrain, shortened daylight period, and particularly the physical abilities and expectations of your hiking group in those conditions. Visitors to mountainous areas often fail to consider that weather conditions may differ substantially from their home area, and winter environmental conditions are subject to rapid changes at higher elevations. Leave a detailed trip itinerary with someone at home, perhaps with officials at the park or forest you are visiting (especially if harsh weather conditions are forecasted for the area), and be sure not to deviate from that itinerary.

To read the rest of this article click here.

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