Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fall Hiking 101: Expect the Unexpected

One day you’re hiking in a tank top and shorts, and then the very next day you’re putting on a down jacket and digging out your winter boots. All I can say is welcome to autumn in the Canadian Rockies and in the words of my favourite reality TV show: Always Expect the Unexpected!

An autumn day hike can lead you through three different seasons in the course of a day with temperatures plummeting the higher you go. Weather is hard to predict and you will often encounter snow as you go further into the backcountry or climb above tree line. With this kind of uncertainty it can be challenging to pack in the morning and one has to “up their game” in order to stay safe on the trails.

November in the Canadian Rockies

Dressing for Autumn Hiking

You may be tempted to go for the “hiker chic” look with leggings, light trail runners, and a cute little sweater with perhaps a thin wind breaker; but to be truly ready for the unexpected and avoid a costly helicopter rescue when things go south, you need to be prepared with more layers, substantial footwear, and better packing overall. Below are essential items you’ll want to wear when hiking this fall:
  • Consider long underwear for cool morning starts. (Worst case scenario, you get too hot later on in the day and you have to duck behind a tree to pull it off)
  • Wear real hiking pants that are water repellent at the very least (and this means no leggings unless you have rain pants in your pack to go over them should it start to snow or rain)
  • Layers, layers, layers! Think t-shirt, long sleeved shirt, fleece sweater, rain jacket or similar waterproof layer, and a light puffy that you’ll keep in your pack for rest stops. (Again, you can always carry what you aren’t wearing).
  • No cotton, No denim, and no shorts unless you have warmer pants in your pack to put on over top.
  • Wear water proof hiking shoes rather than light trail runners that will get soaked if you encounter snow (and it doesn’t hurt to throw some ice cleats or micro spikes in your pack in case the trail gets slippery).
  • Always bring mittens, a warm hat, and even a buff or something similar to protect your face from the wind.

Dressed for success in the mountains

This story was first published by Campers Village and appears in its entirety on their website.

To continue reading, please go to the Campers Village website to read the next paragraph of this story on  Special Precautions for Autumn Hiking. In this paragraph, I cover important items to bring with you when hiking in fall along with safety precautions to take into consideration. I hope you will read the full story and share it with your friends so that we can all continue to be safe out there this fall.

This is around the corner in less than a month!

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