For the past week or so, we’ve been experiencing single-digit temperatures at night and teens and 20’s during the days… the news has labeled the weather event a “bomb cyclone” – a pretty dramatic name for extremely low barometric pressures coupled with a polar vortex of frigid air. To me this was a prime opportunity to once again test some of the gear we’ve purchased for our Himalayan trek.
Ron was unable to hike because of some nasty 24 hour bug, but John (my son) was an enthusiastic partner in my crazy plan to go hiking in extreme temperatures. My wife (Joanie) simply thought we were crazy! A couple of days earlier I had purchased some gloves and was anxious to try them out.
Anyhow, John and I got on the road early and were undaunted that the car’s outside temperature indicator was showing 4 degrees. Our planned hike for the day was a series of trails called Hazel River/Catlett Spur/Sam’s Ridge, essentially 9 miles of interconnected trails near Shenandoah National Park. When we arrived, the temperature had risen to a balmy 9 degrees, so undeterred, John and I geared up and began our hike along the frozen trail.
Once again, effective layering of various base, mid and outer layers resulted being comfortable throughout the hike (as long as we were moving and out of the wind!). My hands got cold, but all-in-all not too bad for a 5 hour hike in temps ranging from 9 to 15 degrees with a sub-zero windchill.
I was excited to test out my new Osprey Hydration Bladder, but quickly discovered that the drinking tube was frozen. Thankfully I had some other bottles of water that didn’t fully freeze until near the end of the hike.