Thursday, October 4, 2018

hello fall! easy tips for day hikes in minnesota

Fall is here! And with it, I officially welcome the most wonderful time of the year in Minnesota! This beautiful state is known for one thing... well, two-- the Vikings and the brutal winters. And that is so unfair because this state has so much to offer aside from a football team that cannot win an NFL championship (Go Packs Go!) or winter weather so brutal that you feel like you are in an episode from Game of Thrones. Believe me, I am not making it up when I describe a Minnesota fall season as spectacular.

While summer in the state is beautiful, fall is when I really love to venture out. The humidity is gone, the temperatures cool down, but most importantly-- the bugs are gone. I can handle bugs but here in Minnesota the bugs are insane, especially the biting gnats.  So when they go away or die from the cooler temperatures, it is on! Whether hiking. trekking or camping, the choices are endless.  All it takes is a bit of planning. Today I am sharing with you a few tips to have a wonderful fall season hike.  While this will focus on a day hike, the basics still apply to longer ones.

Dress in layers.  This is a concept that I learned in the Army and has served me well since then.  The weather in the fall can be quite unpredictable. You have to be prepared for the chance of weather changes, and clothing is vital. Before I continue I have to clarify something. will notice that I stick with certain brands for clothing. It is not because I am getting paid by them or I'm a poser-- it is simply that I have found that they fit. As a 6'1" curvy female, it is hard to find clothes that fit me. But when I do, I am a loyal customer. With this in mind, a hiking outfit for me will look something like this:
  • Pants- I love my Columbia ‘Anytime’ Outdoor pants. They’re comfy, dry quickly, and are long enough for me. And if it gets hot, I can roll them up. 
  • Moisture wicking tank top or short sleeves under a button down shirt.
  • Button down shirt made with moisture wicking material (because it makes no sense to have moisture wicking base layer if the top is not). I love the Columbia PFG Bahama™ Long Sleeve Shirt. It has handy pockets and venting (heck yes!).
  • Ultralight socks are perfect for the fall when the conditions can be a little warm. I really love the Darn Tough socks because they are the only socks I do not get blisters with.
  • My boots—now, I have hiking boots but have found that I still love to wear my combat boots. And when I go hiking and I love my Oakley Light Assault Boots. I got these babies three years ago before I retired and they are still going. The only bad part is that they are not waterproof. 
What I Pack.  For day hikes I go for my Cotopaxi Luzon Pack. It is lightweights and has more than enough room to pack all that you need. In it I pack:
  • Extra pair of socks for longer hike _ including a medium weight sock in case it gets colder.
  • Lightweight mittens and hat
  • Lightweight jacket that insulates and also protects from the wind.
  • Columbia vest (if forecasted to get cooler)
  • Fuel for long hikes especially if it is going to be cold. Your body will burn calories trying to stay warm.
  • Naked Bee Lip Balm
  • Moisturizer
  • Bottle of water - never leave home without it.
  • Sun powered cell phone charger 
Safety.  It is necessary to talk about safety when it comes to outdoor activities especially if you are going by yourself and I am all about protection. Make sure you have a fully charged cell phone and also turn on the location feature. If anything happens, it would be easier to track. Also, I bring my personal weapon (of course make sure you have a concealed carry permit first) but if this is not your thing, bring some pepper spray. The point is-- think about safety when you go out. 

Happy hiking!

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