Saturday, January 13, 2018

ORFS Winter Hike Put Safety First: Kidder-Cleveland-Clough Trail

Last Tuesday at the Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) annual meeting an emphasis was placed on the closeness of the ORFS group and the importance and caring they have on watching for each other’s physical being.  No doubt, they are a family.
Bill and Kathy, our leaders for the meeting, had several items on the agenda that brought fourth this family and caring feeling. Kathy reminded us, “Safety first”. If local schools and the Chapin Center are closed, then there will be no “Every Tuesday at 10 am” outing.  Safety first.
The below video shares the ORFS pre-meeting 2-mile snowshoe hike in 20 degrees F temperatures in 2 feet of snow.  The ORFS were the first on this trail after the snow, making an endurance challenge for all of us. Enjoy the ORFS 10 am Kidder-Cleveland-Clough Trail hike.

Other key safety items on the agenda were:
·      Being prepared with proper equipment for the trail

·      Buddy system (For example, do not hike or paddle alone, keep an eye on the first and last person in the group, when coming to a fork in the trail, make sure all in the group know which trail to take).

·      If you have a cell phone have it fully charged before you start – and keep it on.

·      If an accident does happen (e.g. sprained ankle), be sure to report it later to the COA.
As I prepared the above video of the ORFS latest winter hike, all of Kathy and Bill’s attentions came to mind, and I wanted this blog to emphasize winter cautions and gear necessary for a safe and fun hike.  As the saying goes, “you can never be overdressed or too prepared.”

A quick primer:
·      Never hike alone.

·      Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

·      Dress appropriately – cotton is the worst fabric for cold, wet weather. Cotton can kill when wet – meaning it soaks up moisture, stays wet, and takes a long, bone-chilling time to dry.  Dress in layers so you can take off or put on as you need. Wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers hold body heat. Wear a hat (even carry a spare), proper insulted shoes (no sneakers!), and gloves (maybe bring a spare pair).

·      Bring water and light snacks.

·      A contractor trash bag (not for trash, but for wearing as emergency rain gear).

·      Whistle

·      Map/compass

·      Flashlight (extra batteries or 2nd flashlight)
Here are some key winter gear descriptions:

·      Microspikes (some call them crampons) are best worn on fairly level hiking trails covered with packed snow or ice. They provide that little bit of extra traction that you need when your boot treads stop giving you good grips.

·      Gaiter: a covering worn over the lower part of the leg to keep the legs and ankles dry when hiking

·      Snowshoes: usually lightweight platform for the foot that is designed to enable a person to walk on soft snow without sinking.

·      Trekking Poles: I'm a big fan of trekking poles for hiking because they help reduce the strain on my knees when I walk, they improve my balance when I'm hiking over rough ground or crossing streams, and they are useful for establishing a good walking rhythm when synchronizing with your arms. And they exercise your arms and shoulders.
The above are certainly not all inclusive concerns. Learn more hiking “musts” from the below references:
·        Hiking: Winter Conditions Gear Checklist
·        Recommended Winter Day Hiking Gear List
·        Hike Safe Card

·        Why Cotton Kills – A technical explanation
·        When do you need snowshoes? Gaiters? Crampons? A winter traction primer

·        Chapin Center Council on Aging 
More Blog Posts on Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS)

Christmas Caroling with the ORFS

Radio Interview with Pearl Monroe - September 6, 2017

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