Winter is still officially a few days away, but we’ve had a taste of it the past month that is a great reminder that seasons really do change, and we need to be prepared. We have had snow, rain, extremely high winds, ice, and sleet. But just because the weather is changing, we can still get outside. It does take some planning, some familiarity with local landscapes, and preparation to prevent hypothermia. Family members may insist they will be warm enough, when in fact they may discover once outside that they are quite cold. Bring extra jackets, hats and mittens along ‘just in case’ for those who resist taking precautions against the cold.
Windy days means woods walking can be risky. When we know the wind will be excessive, we head for some of our favorite outdoor spots with mostly open fields.
We recently headed to Chase Farm in Lincoln, RI, with easy walking trails on wide open fields, which offered great views of the surrounding countryside.
Another outing (on a less windy day) took us to the Mass Central rail trail in Weston a newly opened section of rail trail that was great for our entire family to enjoy when we had gathered for the Thanksgiving weekend. Since we were walking, we did not cover too much ground, but what we saw encouraged us to make plans to return in the spring when we can visit again on our adaptive tandem bicycle.
We spent time with more family in New Hampshire over Thanksgiving weekend, and all wore blaze orange as a necessary precaution. The Weber Forest trail in Derry was somewhat icy, but it got us out, kids had a great time, and older family members managed the simple out and back path with no mishaps.
One of the most important things to remember when getting outside now, besides protecting from hypothermia, is to remember that winter is when hunting season gets into full swing. Sharing the woods with hunters is a matter of common sense, awareness, and wearing blaze orange! Different states have different hunting seasons. Be sure to check state hunting websites for exact dates, and be aware of which state you plan to walk in. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.