When the ice, snow and cold temperatures arrive in Missouri, most folks just hunker down inside, watch television and deal with cabin fever. I’ve heard all kinds of excuses as to why one can’t get out and enjoy nature – mostly concerns about falling, hypothermia, and frostbite. But before you fall into a deep winter hibernation there are ways you can stay safe this winter while you’re enjoying the outdoors.
Check the weather and be prepared. Limit your time outdoors if it’s extremely wet, windy or cold. To prevent the chances of frostbite or hypothermia, dress in layers, wear a hat and scarf, use mittens instead of gloves, and keep your feet warm and dry with wool socks. A moisture-wicking layer close to your skin with a middle layer of fleece covered in a waterproof jacket or coat is ideal.
To prevent falls, choose shoes with good traction. Walk slowly like a penguin with your feet flat, arms out and take short steps. Use hiking or trekking poles for added stability. Avoid walking on ice if possible. For added safety, take a friend, a fully-charged cell phone, a first-aid kit, and a few snacks. Don’t forget to tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
Practicing these strategies will ensure a fun, adventurous day of exploring Missouri in winter. From watching winter birds and identifying animal tracks, to discovering frost flowers, there are lots of things in nature that can help beat those winter blues.
Get out there!
words by s. turner
pics by t. smugala