I live in a state where the annual average snowfall is over 200 inches…I don’t know if you are great at conversions, but that is over 16 feet of snow! This means the threat of winter weight is very real. Temperatures begin to drop in October, and it isn’t uncommon to begin to see flurries. Therefore, finding ways to stay active during the fall and winter months isn’t just good for our health as a family but also very important to our sanity. As any Mother can tell you, just a few days trapped in the house with stir crazy kids could test the patience of a Buddhist monk.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bear Creek Country Kitchens®.
It might be tempting to settle indoors when the weather starts to cool down, but remaining active through the fall and winter helps maintain a healthy weight, keep those winter blues away, and offers free entertainment to kids without the use of a screen. To stay active, one of our favorite things to do as a family is hike. With the proper precautions, the whole family can spend an afternoon exploring the great outdoors…and you might just have an afternoon without sibling fights, or hearing the irritating whine of “I’m boooored!” If you have never hiked in colder climates, here are a few helpful things to keep in mind before you hit the trails.
Cold Weather Hiking Tips
I have a backpack that I always carry. It is filled with emergency items that I never take out. There is a first aid kit, flashlight, pocket knife, small umbrella, snacks, water, and in the winter, I usually have hand warmers in there as well. I always bring my phone with me, and I grab a map at the trailhead. If there are no maps, I snap a photo of the map at the kiosk. It can be very easy to wander off the trail or get lost, especially if there is snow on the ground. Read reviews online, if possible, to get an idea of trails you’ve never hiked and what to expect along the way. Be alert and always prepared.
Check the Weather
Seems like a no brainer, but before you go anywhere, look up the weather forecast. The last thing you want to do is get caught in a storm. Staying safe is the most important thing when hiking, and you could easily become disoriented in a snow storm or caught in an icy rainfall. Even if it is sunny and warm, a looming storm could easily sneak up on you, especially in the mountains. Also make sure you keep track of time and know how long it will take to complete the hike. Go earlier in the day when it is typically warmer, and make sure you will be back before sunset since the days are much shorter. When you check the weather, you can also see exactly when the sun will rise and set, giving you an exact time to use instead of estimating.
Dress in Layers
Always wear multiple layers. Always. Temperatures can vary along a hike depending on the location and the situation so it is always better to be over-prepared. When there is snow on the ground, I usually wear waterproof pants and a waterproof jacket shell over top of my warmer layers just in case unexpected snowfall, sleet, or the most likely scenario for me, potential slip and fall. It keeps me from having to call it quits because I’m wet or forcing me to finish the hike with wet clothes which can be very dangerous. I always bring an extra pair of gloves and socks in my backpack as well. When hiking, it is also crucial to have proper footgear. You want a good pair of hiking boots that keep your feet dry and warm while preventing slipping. Don’t go overboard with the bulkiness, it can tire you out and make it more difficult to navigate terrain.
Refuel and Replenish
Keep everyone hydrated and warm them up with a hearty meal. After a day of exploring, my family is always starving, but standing at the stove all afternoon is the very last thing I want to do after a hike. I opt for an easy and delicious meal from Bear Creek Country KitchensⓇ. They have been making dry soup mixes for over 20 years using their unique blend of spices combined with only the best of ingredients to create a delectable meal that reminds me of my Mom’s homemade cooking.
The Bear Creek Soups come in individual sized bowls or family sized bags which offers 8 servings. Just add water and they are ready in just 20 minutes. It can satisfy a hungry family, and it gives me more time to be right where I want, spending quality time with my favorite people. The Bear Creek Soups are also great as a side dish to accompany sandwiches or salads, or it can also be used as a base to create a variety of delicious meals. Discover more about Bear Creek on Facebook.
Make it Worthwhile
Some of the best hikes we have gone on as a family have a rewarding component like an amazing view or an interesting history. Hiking is much more than just the physical act, it is a major teaching moment for a variety of reasons. It is a great way to explain directions, learn to read a map, understand wind and weather patterns, discover local history, see animals, and practice basic safety skills. Hiking and its preparation has many real world applications, and kids remember lessons better if they experience them first hand. If they are older and becoming “too cool” for family time, give them the chance to research hiking paths they would like to explore and plan a whole day of it. Kids are often more willing to participate if they are allowed to make some of the decisions.
Know Your Limits
Create realistic expectations and plan accordingly. Winter weather can completely change a hiking path you frequent in the summer. Be prepared to meet unexpected obstacles and turn around if it is too difficult. During the winter is also not the best time to try an unfamiliar, lengthy hike. Keep in mind how far your kids can hike and at one point they will become cranky and unmotivated. You don’t want to get halfway through only to have them tell you that can’t go any further. This should be a fun activity not a punishment.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bear Creek® Soup Mixes.