I am not sure what happened to autumn, but it feels like winter is upon us in south-western Ohio. Many of the leaves have fallen and the temperatures this week were in the 40s during the day and hovering around the freezing mark over night. We had our first look at snow this week (no accumulation but lots of big flakes making a point) and another day greeted us with an hour of sleet. All I can say to this is…..Yes! Great! Super! Alright! I love the fall and the colors of autumn. And I still hope that Indian summer lies ahead with many, warm, sunny days for hiking, but cold weather allows me to layer on the trail. I like to bundle up on a cold day and feel warm under my clothing even when the temperatures are quite low. I really enjoy pulling on the Under Armour, the thick hiking socks, and my primaloft jacket from REI. Dressed properly, I am as warm on a winter’s walk as I am on a sunny, spring day.
Two additional essentials for me during the hikes coming up in the next few months are a warm hat and good gloves. So much heat escapes through our heads, so a good hat will keep the whole body warm. And since I have this rather large spot on the top of my head that is no longer manufacturing any hair, a man-made head covering is extra important. I have several beanie-style hats that cover my ears and keep me nice and cozy. It might be the way that God has wired me or it might be the result of slowing circulation caused by age, but my hands are the most sensitive recipients of the sting of cold temperatures. My thumbs, in particular, react quickly to a falling thermometer. I have found, however, that my hands respond well to a warm pair of mittens. There is something about the freedom of my fingers inside the cocoon of the mitten that generates more warmth and I can pull my thumb out of its sleeve from time to time and enjoy the added warm of the fist inside the mitten.
May autumn last as long as possible! May Indian summer bring lots of beautiful days in the coming weeks! But I am getting ready for many enjoyable miles on the trail in the cold months ahead.