This past Saturday, however, I headed up to The Ridges to do some hiking in the snow-filled forests. Most of Ohio had experienced a snow storm Friday night into Saturday morning, and Athens received around 4-5 inches from what I saw.
Eventually the snow stopped as the sun began its way toward the horizon. The last leg of the hiking trip took me through a snow-blanketed forest with Dark-Eyed Juncos, Carolina Chickadees, and Tufted Titmice foraging all around me.
Honestly, I'm starting to really love Winter hiking, a lot. I've never done it really until this year, and it's very enjoyable if you prepare correctly. I actually overdressed on this trip and had to take my coat off because I was too hot, even though it was in the teens with windchills even lower. The key is layers; not just one thick, heavy layer, but many lighter, smaller layers. For example, I was wearing a base-layer long sleeve shirt, a short sleeve shirt, a sweater, and then an insulated flannel jacket along with two layers of active-wear long underwear with a water-resistant pair of sweatpants which I tucked into my boots. As for footwear, I wore two socks (a regular pair and a wool/synthetic pair) and water-proof Goretex boots. This kept my feet warm and dry, and the rest of my body was warm as well. Plus, if you get hot while wearing multiple thin layers, you can always take them off accordingly until you're at a perfect temperature. Wearing only one big layer prevents this; you either wear it and sweat, which is dangerous, or you take it off and freeze, which is dangerous. So, LAYERS!