INLAND NW ROUTES
As summer is in our rear view mirror, fall is all around us.
And so are the cool temps, and most sunny days.
When we want to hike, we must plan our outing with care, to make sure we carry the appropriate clothing and safety supplies.
What we wear in the fall is very important.
The most valuable advice I can give you, is do not wear ANY COTTON CLOTHING, PERIOD.
When cotton gets wet from the environment, rain or snow, or from the dew off the brush, and sweat, our body core temperatures can drop to dangerous levels.
If this happens to you, you must have the correct clothing for the circumstances.
The layer next to your skin, should be polypropylene.
Polypro is a high tech material that wicks moisture and sweat away from the body, hence you are warmer.
When you sweat, your body is cooled via evaporation.
But if that sweat stays on your skin, it allows your bodies core temperatures to drop.
When that happens, your life could be in danger.
Hypothermia is a cold temperature condition that can affect you even when the temperatures are in the 60’s.
A light wind can exponentially drop your core temperatures.
It’s called windchill.
The next layer or two, will keep your body warm. But be aware, if you are scrambling a steep slope, the fleece you are wearing could cause more sweat, which can drop your core temps.
Fleece is a material made out of our discarded plastic bottles.
Its most important properties, is that it causes loft.
Loft is the space between your base layer and your outer waterproof jacket.
The more loft, the warmer you will be.
Don’t scrimp on the outer layer. It’s design is to keep you dry, and warm. It also keeps the wind off your body.
A slight wind can drop the ambient temperatures to drop to dangerous levels.
This is called WINDCHILL.
As the winds pick up, it cools our bodies.
Now that you know about proper clothing, it is important to understand that when you go out into Nature, what you wear is critical to your survival.
If it rained the day before, there’s going to be rain drops and/or dew on all the plants you rub against while walking.
When you get wet your bodies temperature drop.
But don’t just think of yourself.
While out on cool fall days, monitor your hiking friends.
If you see a person unzipping their jacket, taking their gloves or hats off on a cold day, that’s a big clue.
Also watch your hiking buddies for slurred speech, erratic behavior, or a noticeable change in their normal behavior.
If you or anyone around you displayed any of the above behaviors, take action immediately.
Get their hats, gloves, jacket back on them or you, and start moving.
If there’s an up hill trail, walk up the hill. It will warm you.
To tell if your buddy is too cold, ask them questions that require a thoughtful answers. If they fail, act immediately to get them warm and down to safety.
The reason I want you to know about hypothermia, is because even on a sunny day in the fall, up at your favorite backcountry lake, you could become too cold to help yourself or your buddies.
Hypothermia is a condition that can kill you.
Take with you what you need to be safe, comfortable and warm.
If you don’t take the proper clothing, you will suffer.
One thing about hypothermia is when you get colder, your mind plays tricks on you. You may start discarding clothing, and not realize you are in danger.
Last week I went on a hike with a friend and took all I may need, just in case.
I dressed properly for the hiking conditions, but when we stopped for lunch, I became cold.
In my pack was down pants and a down jacket. They stuff into very small bags, and don’t take up much space.
I pulled out my jacket and fluffed it, and put it on.
Immediately I felt warmer, and during lunch I was comfortable.
When we started walking again, I simply stowed it in my pack.
By carrying the down garments, they can be used to warm yourself or others, in case of an emergency.
If you don’t carry the proper clothing and gear, you could suffer the consequences.
ALWAYS ERROR ON THE SIDE OF SAFETY AND CAUTION.
Chic Burge David Crafton
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