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Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The Outside Guide: “Embrace the Chill: Preparing for Fall and Winter Outdoor Adventures”

 As the vibrant colors of autumn leaves begin to paint the landscape, and the whispers of winter's impending arrival dance in the chilly breeze, outdoor enthusiasts have a unique opportunity to embrace the changing seasons. Fall and winter bring a magical transformation to the great outdoors, offering fresh experiences and a chance to connect with nature in new ways. So, grab your warmest gear and a thermos of hot cocoa as we embark on a journey of preparing for fall and winter outdoor adventures.  Nevada Outdoor School includes Leave No Trace principles in its outdoor programs. One of the principles of Leave No Trace is “Plan Ahead and Prepare”. 

Ah, fall—the season of pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters, and the earthy aroma of fallen leaves. It's also an excellent time to explore the outdoors before the winter chill sets in. Fall foliage is a sight to behold, with trees donning their vibrant red, orange, and yellow attire. Plan a hike or a scenic drive to witness this annual spectacle of nature. Don't forget your camera to capture the kaleidoscope of colors! Fall weather can be unpredictable, with cool mornings, warm afternoons, and crisp evenings. Dressing in layers is the key to staying safe and comfortable. Begin with a moisture-wicking base layer, add an insulating mid-layer, and finish off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Nothing beats the chill quite like a warm drink. Pack a thermos filled with your favorite hot beverage—whether it's herbal tea, mulled cider, or that classic hot cocoa with marshmallows. Sipping a warm drink while gazing at the autumn scenery is pure bliss. If you're camping in the fall, a campfire is a must. Roast marshmallows for s'mores, share stories, and let the crackling flames warm your soul. Remember to check local fire regulations and always practice fire safety. Fall is a bountiful season for foraging. Hunt for wild mushrooms, nuts, and edible plants. Just make sure you're knowledgeable about what's safe to eat, or better yet, join a guided foraging tour led by experts.

When the world transforms into a winter wonderland, outdoor adventurers can't resist the allure of snow-covered landscapes. To enjoy winter to the fullest, invest in quality snow gear. Snowshoes, cross-country skis, and snowboards are your tickets to exploring snowy trails and slopes. Don't forget a warm, insulated jacket, waterproof pants, and insulated boots. If you plan to venture into avalanche-prone areas, equip yourself with the knowledge and gear for avalanche safety. Avalanche beacons, shovels, and probes are essential tools, but taking an avalanche safety course is equally important. Winter offers unique recreational opportunities, such as ice skating on frozen lakes and ice fishing in serene solitude. Bring your ice skates or rent them locally and try your hand at drilling a hole through the ice to catch fish. For a memorable winter experience, book a stay in a cozy cabin or try winter camping. Imagine waking up to the soft hush of falling snowflakes and sipping hot coffee while wrapped in a blanket of tranquility. Winter nights are perfect for stargazing and, if you're lucky, witnessing the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. Bundle up, bring a telescope or binoculars, and head to a dark, remote location for a celestial spectacle.

As the days grow shorter and the temperatures continue to drop, transitioning from fall to winter adventures requires a few extra considerations. Keep a close eye on weather forecasts, as conditions can change rapidly during this transitional period. Knowing the expected temperatures and precipitation will help you plan appropriately. If you've been using your gear throughout the fall, make sure it's in good shape for winter. Check for wear and tear, replace worn-out items, and ensure everything is clean and well-maintained. With fewer daylight hours, plan your adventures accordingly. Start early in the day and carry reliable lighting sources, such as headlamps or flashlights, just in case you find yourself out after dark. In colder weather, it's easy to forget to stay hydrated. But staying well-hydrated is just as crucial in the winter as it is in the summer. Drink water regularly, even if you don't feel as thirsty. One of the joys of venturing outdoors in the fall and winter is the serenity and solitude. Embrace the peace and quiet and let the stillness of nature wash over you.  

Nevada Outdoor School is an Accredited Youth Program of Leave No Trace and can provide awareness workshops and training to groups, clubs, and organizations. 

As the seasons transition from fall to winter, outdoor adventurers have a world of beauty and excitement awaiting them. Whether you're hiking through colorful forests or skiing down snowy slopes, embracing the chill can lead to some of the most memorable and enchanting outdoor experiences. So, gear up, bundle up, and get ready to create your own stories amidst the changing seasons of the great outdoors, because “It’s Great For Everyone!” – Nevada Outdoor School

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