It's getting colder out there, and as much as you want to get out there, sometimes that winter weather leads to procrastination. Here's a little article to help end that cycle!
Remember summer? When you rode your bike in the sun and watched sunsets from your campsite at 9pm? Well, it’s over. But that doesn’t mean the end of outdoor activity – it just means adapting and getting stoked for a new season. Here’s our advice on getting outside in fall and winter for 2020:
1. Sort your stuff out early If there’s cold-weather gear you’ve been thinking about – snowshoes, bike lights, a really good rain jacket – pick it up now. In summer, the Great Bike Boom of 2020 left late bike shoppers scrambling across North America. Now’s the best time to find the size, colour and models you need for any fall or winter gear.
2. Stay fit on the trails Not quite ready to return to the gym? Trail running gets your heart pumping with a healthy dose of nature. Yes, there might be puddles. Yes, there’s a high likelihood of mud. Yes, treating yourself to a coffee and donut after soaking-wet run will be the highlight of your weekend. Pick up some grippy shoes and dark-coloured socks, and learn beginner trail running tips to dive in.
3. Assess your layering system It’s almost time to break out the fuzzy fleece, base layers and shells. Learn how to create a good layering system, especially when you’re heating up from activity, then cooling down when you stop. If you have a jacket you love, give it some TLC; learn how to re-waterproof your jacket. Don’t forget the kids – it’s Toaster Suit season.
4. Don’t forget about your feet For everyone who hates cold, wet feet – which we’re assuming is everyone – dig through your closet to see if last year’s winter boots are still good or if it’s time to upgrade. Another hot tip: traction devices are awesome to keep moving, even when trails and sidewalks are sheets of ice.
5. Become an all-weather rider Don’t let twilight, rain or frost slow your roll. With fenders, bike lights, wet-weather cycling clothes, and a good pair of gloves (trust us), you can keep biking well past summer. The truly dedicated even use studded tires for icy, snowy routes. Of course, indoor bike trainers are totally an option to rack up kilometres in your own Tour de Living Room.
6. Go nuts for fall leaves Pop on a toque and prepare to snap a hundred photos. Bursts of colour are motivation to hike to golden larches, orange sugar maples, and bright red oaks. Ontario Parks even has a whole fall colours peak viewing map, so if one spot seems busy, there are lots more to choose from.
7. Be a beacon of brightness Stay safe and laugh in the face of 4pm sunsets. A headlamp makes you visible to traffic on snowy neighbourhood walks, lights the way on trails at dusk, and keeps your hands free to hold an umbrella and your dog’s leash at the same time.
8. Three…two… one… dropping COVID-19 is changing the way ski hills operate. Don’t be caught off-guard when the snow starts falling. Research what reservations systems are in place, and sign up for avalanche training courses if you’re planning to escape lift lines for the backcountry. Also essential: ski flicks. Tons of trailers are now out, and this year’s Banff Mountain Film Fest is completely online and guaranteed to build outdoor stoke.
9. Will snowshoeing be the new biking? Many Canadians re-discovered cycling, camping and hiking over the summer. So what’s going to be hot this winter? Snowshoeing seems like a good bet: it’s family-friendly, a great way to get fresh air, and opens up new scenery. Read our beginner’s guide to snowshoeing to get started, and look into local snowshoe areas to see if there are any special COVID-19 guidelines to know about.
10. Set the mood for fall
Find tracks to play on the way to or from the trailhead. Download the new Fall Trail playlist on Spotify and follow MEC to be the first to hear about the next round of playlists dropping throughout the season.
Keep warm, stay safe, and we’ll see you out there.
This article was origionally posted on the MEC BLOG on September 25, 2020.
(Sunday, October 11, 2020)
It's time for Adventure Weekly, Volume 19. There is not much to report this week, other than the fact that I came to the realization that we have only 6 more day hikes until the end of this NAC Season! That's right, only 6 more hikes! Two of these hikes are already planned and on the web site, now comes the task of finding 4 more hikes in the Niagara/Hamilton area that are feasible during pandemic times. Watch the web site, as soon as I figure the last four hikes out, I will post them on the events page, and in the upcoming Adventure Weekly newsletters. That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club