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Thread: Winter Hiking

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    AT 2008 was awesome! Iron Mnt Gap to Watauga Lake! fatmatt's Avatar
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    Default Winter Hiking

    Since I am from Indiana, and it is really cold up here. Where is some place that would be reasonable temperature wise to hike this winter?
    Remember: You don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the slowest person running from the bear. :D

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    Go to the Indiana DNR website.
    a.k.a CHOP-CHOP

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    Default winter hikin'

    Quote Originally Posted by fatmatt
    Since I am from Indiana, and it is really cold up here. Where is some place that would be reasonable temperature wise to hike this winter?

    Yo fatmatt


    it's COLD most places...out on the trail...hey, they call it WINTER..for a real reason!


    BUT, if you feel the need to get out there...in the cold....the southern part of the A.T. is my fave....i like to do a "dayhike" or two....in the Roan Mtn/Carvers Gap area each December.

    One year...it started sleeting & snowing when i was atop Roan Bald....it was GREAT!

    Be careful & good luck with your hike!
    see ya'll UP the trail!

    "Jaybird"

    GA-ME...
    "on-the-20-year-plan"

    www.trailjournals.com/Jaybird2013

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    Registered User orangebug's Avatar
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    All temperatures are reasonable if you have the knowledge and the gear. I like winter hiking as it is far easier to get warm than to get cool. The Southern Apps can be deadly for the poorly prepared and the unlucky. It is always a good idea to hike with someone for backup and safety.

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    Registered User orangebug's Avatar
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    BTW, what is "OFF TOPIC" about this thread?

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    Quote Originally Posted by orangebug
    BTW, what is "OFF TOPIC" about this thread?
    I thought he was talking about places to hike in Indiana, thus it being "Off Topic"
    a.k.a CHOP-CHOP

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    GAME 2000
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    I have done a little winter backpacking in the southern Appalachians in or near Georgia on the Pinhoti Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail, the Bartram Trail, the Foothills Trail and the AT south of the Smokies.

    I check the weather forecasts carefully and avoid winter storms, snow, ice storms and such. I plan on 20 degree temperature but have been in low teens on occasion and just wear all my clothes for additional insulation if needed. You need to pay attention that the temperature and wind can be worse in the mountains than in the nearbye cities. Selection of campsites is critical; get educated about leeward site selections, temperature inversions, camping at higher elevations, etc. Also, be aware that it is dark for a large percentage of each 24 hour period and this means less available hiking hours, more hours in you sleeping bag and on your sleeping pad. It is important to realize that you need warmth from your sleeping pad and lots of cushioning... you might be on it for 14 hours at a time.

    Winter can be a great time out there as the vistas are wide open without the leaf cover... it is also more unforgiving of mistakes. Things tend to freeze- like you, wet footwear, water bottles, wet clothing, wet guylines, etc. You need to have a clear plan ahead of time of how to handle whatever comes up and to understand your limitations so you can just bail if you figure the conditions are going to exceed your limitations.

    Youngblood

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    Quote Originally Posted by Youngblood
    I have done a little winter backpacking in the southern Appalachians in or near Georgia on the Pinhoti Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail, the Bartram Trail, the Foothills Trail and the AT south of the Smokies.

    I check the weather forecasts carefully and avoid winter storms, snow, ice storms and such. I plan on 20 degree temperature but have been in low teens on occasion and just wear all my clothes for additional insulation if needed. You need to pay attention that the temperature and wind can be worse in the mountains than in the nearbye cities. Selection of campsites is critical; get educated about leeward site selections, temperature inversions, camping at higher elevations, etc. Also, be aware that it is dark for a large percentage of each 24 hour period and this means less available hiking hours, more hours in you sleeping bag and on your sleeping pad. It is important to realize that you need warmth from your sleeping pad and lots of cushioning... you might be on it for 14 hours at a time.

    Winter can be a great time out there as the vistas are wide open without the leaf cover... it is also more unforgiving of mistakes. Things tend to freeze- like you, wet footwear, water bottles, wet clothing, wet guylines, etc. You need to have a clear plan ahead of time of how to handle whatever comes up and to understand your limitations so you can just bail if you figure the conditions are going to exceed your limitations.

    Youngblood
    Excellent post. Youngblood you are always full of good info. From now on when I have questions regarding the trail, I'm gonna direct them towards you.
    a.k.a CHOP-CHOP

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    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    Default Land Between the Lakes

    There is a 60-mile "thru" trail about 2 hours to the South of Evansville near the KY/TN state line in the Land Between the Lakes Corridor. The trail is aptly named the "North-South Trail." Im not exactly sure what the conditions of the trail is. Im sure it is rather easy and simple to follow. That may be a good start. In fact, I am pondering doing this trail right after New Years, so thats how I knew about it. There are plenty of other options within driving distance in KY as well. Of course, if you are willing to fly, that opens up everywhere.

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    It depends on how far you are willing to drive. I recently escaped from Indiana, but when I was there, I came to the conclusion that I was basically stuck with either local hiking around Bloomington, or making the haul to the Smokys, which were colder, but atleast pretty. Now, I'm in the Pacific Northwest and it is colder, and has more snow. Just have to deal with it. I'll be freezing my arse up around 4000 feet this weekend in the Olympics, on snow.

    If you are looking to fly or drive for a few days, I liked the Santa Catalina mountains outside of Tucson. Section E on the PCT would be quite doable in the winter time (Mojave desert). I'm going to Death Valley for the winter to escape some rain, although it might be just as cold.

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    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatmatt
    Since I am from Indiana, and it is really cold up here. Where is some place that would be reasonable temperature wise to hike this winter?
    Winter is a delightful time for hiking most everywhere, but expecially in the north. No bugs. No crowds. Snow buries the rocks and roots, creating a nice smooth incline plane. And most importantly, the only time the Appalachian Trail is truly wild, truly wilderness is during the winter.

    Nor is winter gear especially complex. All that is really needed is sufficient clothing to stay warm once you stop hiking for the day. My only special gear are long johns, boots big enough for wool socks and snowshoes. Otherwise I just carry multiple use stuff I've collected over the years, like extra wool sweaters, a down jacket, heavy mittens and most importantly a coat and outer pants that break the wind. Basically, you need the same gear used by ice fishermen on exposed lakes

    Make your first winter overnight close to a road and home so if you have chosen wrong, you can escape easily. Save vigorous backcountry expeditions for after you become experienced. Also winter is not the time I practice ultra light hiking. One of the pleasures is the challenge to survive comfortably, despite the worst that nature can produce.

    I have yet to experience not surviving, but I'm guessing it's not pleasant.

    Weary

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    AT 2008 was awesome! Iron Mnt Gap to Watauga Lake! fatmatt's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. I guess I should have stated that I wanted to hike anywhere, not just the AT or in Indiana. Thanks Solemates for the idea that is close to me!
    Remember: You don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the slowest person running from the bear. :D

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    AT 2008 was awesome! Iron Mnt Gap to Watauga Lake! fatmatt's Avatar
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    I just searched that trail Solemates, and do you know that it is supposed to be a mountain biking trail?
    Remember: You don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the slowest person running from the bear. :D

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    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    Yes, its open to mtn biking, but people hike the North-South Trail as well. from what I have read, its obviously not very remote, but seems like it would be a fun trail to hike. Some links...the first one is the best.

    http://www.lbl.org/Home.html

    http://www.llbean.com/parksearch/parks/html/2839gd.htm

    http://www.kentuckylake.com/lbl

    http://www.grandrivers.com/

    http://www.kentuckylakebarkley.org/

    http://kentuckylake.info/lbl/hillmanferry.htm

    http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/southern/lblcmp.htm
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

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  15. #15

    Default winter hiking - this & that

    Quote Originally Posted by weary
    I have yet to experience not surviving, but I'm guessing it's not pleasant.

    Weary
    Weary, I trust you'll let us all know if that changes.

    On a serious note, Youngbloods post was indeed an excellent one. We hiked the Foothills Trail together last January. One morning we awoke to temps in the high teens - low 20s. I went down to get some water out of the stream. I splashed some water on one of the rocks next to the stream. About 2 seconds later I stepped on the same rock, and it was covered with ice. I was able to catch my fall, but spilled a pot full of water on my hand, which immediatell froze. By the time I walked 150 yards to my campsite, I was miserable. So... there is little margin for error. Thankfully my friend Youngblood offered me something to warm my paw up.

    Regarding places to hike in winter, I am looking at hiking the section of the Florida Trail that runs through Eglin Air Force Base this January. ANyone want to join me? I received reports today that Hurricane Ivan spared that area. This place is home to the largest remaining old-growth Longleaf Pine forest in the world. I hear tell its beautiful.

    Arizona would be sweet too http://www.aztrail.org/ as would Big Bend Natl Park in Texas http://www.nps.gov/bibe/
    'All my lies are always wishes" ~Jeff Tweedy~

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    Registered User Ramble~On's Avatar
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    fatmatt, I like winter hiking as much if not more than summer hiking.
    I pretty much keep my winter jaunts limited to GA,NC,TN and VA.
    As far as places to hike that are "reasonable temperature wise"
    Any of these areas are no better or worse than others.
    "Reasonable temperature wise" in winter to me means winter temps.
    I like to go out into the snowstorms and I like to get up in elevation.
    I live about 15 minutes from the GSMNP and winter is the only time I can feel alone in the park.
    Last winter I never took a thermometer with me and didn't pay much attention to the temps. This year I plan to record the temps and do some more journals.
    "Reasonable temperature wise" I don't think that I can truely answer for you cause I don't know your definition of "reasonable"
    At elevation there's a huge difference between day temperature and night temperature.
    There is a huge difference between my summer gear and my winter gear.
    Winter hiking also presents the problem of transportation. Which roads leading to trailheads are passable and will you be able to drive the same road when its time to leave.
    At any rate, if you are new to winter backpacking and are planning more than a day hike....be careful.

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    Registered User hikerdude's Avatar
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    Angry Good fellows

    You guy's are the best.
    Its warmer in the south. In Pennsylvania the A.T. can have 6 foot on north side of the blue ridge drifting to 10. And dry and sunny on the southface in March. That's the big global picture.
    You exchange so much information I must give back some truth. for better or worst. But this thread got all the warm spots.
    I camp out all year long, then throw everything in the dryer and eat at the Restaurant and head back out, that's key. Look the thing to do is buy snowshoes and give em a try. I love it. I would rather backcountry ski like Zealand to Lincoln all winter myself and do some night sking at Cannon. That's what the two side compression straps are for on your back pack, to keep your binding in the middle and velcro strap the tips together if you must posthole, I mean hike.
    I get around pretty good here all winter camping out. I got a Ice axe, crampons skis and the best bag F.F. W.M. , Mount-Bell this year make. They all talk real big -60 and all, but -20 is about the coldest it gets a few times a year up north.
    I formed a do or die ski club years ago, of laid off constuction workers cause the ground is so 6 foot frost and harder than rock and all, right? But they are used to the cold. You must got a office job in front of a computer. Not me, I'm poor. Don't listen, my brother never did.

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    Registered Loser c.coyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weary
    I have yet to experience not surviving, but I'm guessing it's not pleasant.
    Well, be careful, or one morning you'll wake up dead.

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    American Idiot
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    Since "anywhere" is an option, how about Belize? Why freeze your ass off if you can enjoy some nice weather? Endure the winter hiking in flip-flops and shorts:
    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/city...ionID=BHXX0001
    http://www.belizex.com/hiking.htm

    English is the official language. While I've never been there, my sister went on a two month trek down there and had fun, living on the cheap and enjoying various sites and areas. Return to work with a nice tan (or peeling/itching burn).
    How many more of our soldiers must die in Iraq?

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    American Idiot
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    Dagnabbit, no edit button! So the second link I just pulled from a Google search, it appears they're vacation planner$. Good info regardless.
    How many more of our soldiers must die in Iraq?

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