Hiking In Winter . . . CTC Crew Moves . . . . Sign Up Your Group for BreakAway . . . . More Volunteers in Trail classes . . . .
Hiking in the colder months has a lot of advantages. You get different vistas because the leaves are off the trees, nuisance insects are reduced and humidity is generally lower. And while the heat of summer can create problems for the unprepared hiker, winter can turn against a hiker as well.
Because it isn’t so hot, many hikers reduce the amount of water they carry. Probably not a good idea. You are still loosing water from exertion and breathing. Staying properly hydrated makes the muscles work better and the heart more efficient – especially for overweight hikers or hikers over 50.
The next challenge is guarding against hypothermia. Dressing in layers for a cold weather hike is a good idea. Most hiking authorities advocate hiking “cold.” Meaning you can start out with fewer layers and hiking will warm you up quickly. But it doesn’t mean not having the extra layers with you. Make sure your day pack has a warm jacket, gloves, ear muffs and a scarf. And if things go wrong, and you are stuck on the trail after sunset, you will have a better than even chance of being comfortable.
When you stop for lunch, cold will set in quickly. Put something down for a ground cloth to keep your body heat from being drained into the ground.
Even on a well marked trail, getting lost is not uncommon. Hikers leave the trail for a variety of reasons and become disoriented. The internet is full of stories people gone missing – even with a group of people. So being prepared for the worst is always a good idea. In addition to the Ten Essentials, a few extra items are worth keeping in the day pack:
Hot Hands hand warmers.
Good quality thermal blanket, the 84″ by 60″ blanket from SOL Adventure Medical can wrap around two people and weighs less than 4 ounces. For $5, it is light weight, cheap piece of mind.
Plastic Grocery Bags. A pair for each hiker. Slip off the shoes. Leave the socks on. Pull the bag over the socks and put the shoes back on. The plastic helps retain heat and adds another layer of water proofing.
Extra Pair of Wool Socks, Extra Pair of Gloves
A Wire Saw. Small wire saws weight almost nothing but come in handy if you have to cut pine branches off to make bedding in an emergency shelter.
Fire Making. You don’t want to be stuck overnight without fire. My favorite fire kit is a Ziploc bag with a one foot square of aluminum foil, a disposable lighter and a pack of “gag” birthday candles – the ones that don’t go out when you blow on them. Indispensable when trying to get a fire going in windy or damp conditions.
Extra Food. Taking in extras calories is a good way to help keep core body temperature stable too.
Don’t let the cold weather keep you off the trail ! Hike safe this winter.
Sign Up Your Club or Company to Help Build the Trail
BreakAway / Alternative Spring Break – The premier volunteer event of the CTC for the past 22 years is our gathering of over 160 college students to build new trail.
We encourage hiking clubs, civic organizations and companies to participate. You can volunteer for a morning, a day or several days. ASB runs from Sunday, March 4 to Saturday March 31, 2018.
Please contact the CTC Office if you or your group would like to participate. One day, three days or a week at a time! Accommodations can be arranged. At firstname.lastname@example.org or 931-456-6259.
This year the work area will be on the long awaited link from Black Mountain northeast to Ozone Falls State Park on US70.
Participating schools include U of Delaware, U of Boulder, Butler, U of South Florida, Pitt, Michigan, Boston, Michigan State, Florida International and the U of South Florida.
CTC Paid Crew Moves to Black Mountain
During the second half of 2017 the CTC paid crew has been concentrating on building trail in the Catoosa and Keys-Harrrison WMAs in Cumberland County. With hunting season
arriving, the crew has moved to Black Mountain. In 2016 the crew began extending the trail north east toward Ozone Falls. They picked up on work started during ASB 2009.
The state concluded the purchase of land in March this year allowing construction to continue. Ranger Anthony Jones of the CTSST took lead on designing the trail inside the narrow corridor. The CTC crew and volunteers will focus on corridor clearing and machine work preparing the area for BreakAway 2018 in March.
Piney River Blow Down Clearing Video
Don Deakins and his confederation of trail volunteers in the southern section of the CT recently spent a morning clearing the many blow-downs in the Piney River Segment. He created a time lapse video showing their work which can be found HERE. Great thanks, as always, to the much unrecognized work of Don and his volunteers who are truly Friends to the Trail.
Trail Building Classes Add Up for 2017
The CTC provided numerous opportunities for both novice and experienced trail volunteers to build up their skills. Nearly 100 volunteers and paid trail crew members participated in CTC sponsored classes.
In the Spring two all day Trail Building 101 classes were offered with 29 people attending. During ASB 13 volunteers took the five hour WagonMaster Crew Leader class. In the Fall, Trail Building 101 drew 12 participants while the half day hour Intro. to Trail Design Class had 21.
CTC also continued sponsoring the nationally recognized four day Trail Master Certification course conducted by Mike Riter. Offered twice this year, 32 volunteers, Rangers and maintenance crew took the course. This intensive course is a combination of class room study and field work. Students are exposed to basic trail design, proper methods of building sustainable trail, an understanding of how water behaves on a trail and trail crew leadership.
Hike safe !
Mark Richie, CMTB. CTC Web Editor