Hiking,  Spirit

A Plug for Winter Hiking

Interesting that as soon as the weather warms up, you see many more people out on the trails.  It makes sense to some people, but to hiking addicts like me – Y’ALL ARE CRAZY!  Where were you when it was cold and just as, if not MORE, beautiful out here?

Hiking has a way of creeping its way into your heart and becoming a source of rejuvenation.   I realized that I would feel elated when I was out hiking – soaking in the simple sights of the sun filtering in through the leaves or shining brightly on the river, listening to the chorus of birds overhead.  Really listening, and enjoying the present moment.  Immersing yourself in nature allows you to clear your head and enjoy the sights and sounds of the moment.  It is like a walking meditation.

I find that hiking in the winter allows you to experience the same trails in a completely different way.

  • The biggest difference is that you can see for miles through the woods!  It is as though the world just opened up for you.  You notice the shapes of the tree trunks and branches – the architecture of the woods

 

  • There are no bugs and you don’t get as hot and parched.  You still do get sweaty though! So you have to remember to wear wicking layers.
  • There is stunning beauty in icy and frozen creeks.  Check out this post to see videos from this amazing day in January! 
  • I personally think you don’t get as sick over the winter either.  No science behind this, but a daily dose of fresh air and spending time outside instead of at overcrowded indoor places where viruses are easy to catch, makes sense to me.  Plus, it has really helped me tremendously with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I definitely was one of the many women who feel more depressed during the winter months.  But this past season, since I started hiking every day – I noticed a huge improvement in my mood and outlook.  Maybe I’m crazy, but seriously, I am filled with so much satisfaction and joy when I go out hiking.

    My daughter, finding a moment of reflection

 

Obviously hiking in the warmer weather has many joys of its own!  I think for me, the warmer weather makes me more aware of my body. Somehow not being wrapped in layer after layer of clothing does this. I actively work my core as I’m hiking.  I’m more motivated to run, do squats and try to increase the muscles in my legs.

However, the trails do seem to close in on you.  The brush and greenery that creeps in, narrows your path and limits the view.  It changes the feeling on the trails.

Plus, if you like to take the path less traveled, watch out for spider webs!  This month, I’ve walked into way too many spider webs criss crossing the trails.  I need to walk with a stick waving in front of me, but then my dog thinks that stick is absolutely for her and barks like crazy until I throw it for her!  🙂

They aren’t visible in the photo, but LOTS of spider webs were in this path!

So, lately, I’ve been walking like a zombie with my arms out in front of me, trying to swat at the web before it gets me in the face.  It’s still worth it.  Although be careful who you bring with you on these hikes. My youngest daughter was not pleased.  I told her to walk behind me so I could get the webs for her.  I love it when she joins me on hikes, and don’t want a few spiders to ruin it.  This is only a problem where the path narrows, not the whole thing thankfully!

I know it isn’t possible for everyone to hike every day, like me.  But I hope all of you warm weather hikers will come on out during the winter too!  No matter what you enjoy doing outdoors, taking time to enjoy just being in the moment and soaking in the sunshine outside is precious.  Nature is a great gift to us and we can enjoy it all year round!

 

 

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