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December-y Hiking
December 18, 2020

December 2020: A Note From Diane

December greetings to you, dear hiker.

Here in the northern hemisphere, short days and long cold nights plus the holiday season & pandemic make it a challenging time to slip away to enjoy and explore the trails that look so different this time of year.

This little newsletter shares some tips and hints on how to do winter hiking safely and in utmost comfort.

It’s also time for another unique giveaway! And lots more.

Here we go…


If you’re wondering how to get started, my tips will get you thinking. Both have fun little infographics!

Winter Hiking Tips

Frostbite Prevention

Backcountry is an online outdoor gear and clothing shop offering steep discounts and top brands for gearing up in winter.

But it’s more than that: it’s a source of reliable hiking information. Case in point to go along with our topic: Winter Hiking Tips From Backcountry

I like this one: To heat up your boots before you head for the trailhead, microwave uncooked grain/rice inside your hiking socks. Tuck the toasty bundles into the boots as you travel (assuming you’re not wearing the boots, right?) so heat radiates throughout your boots.

To which I would add my own toe-y warmth tips: How To Have Warm Feet For Winter Hiking


Ready to meet an addition to your backpacking and camping sleep system?

It’s called a Unightie, and you can win one of your very own this month if you have a U.S. or Canadian mailing address.

Hiking For Her Giveaway Details


Last month we gave away a copy of Susan Alcorn’s latest book entitled Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales & Trails.

Cyndee G. in Kansas City MO was the winner!

Wondering what the secret sauce (seasoning pun, groan) is in the book? View my review:

Walk, Hike, Saunter Book Review


REI has set new product standards that are a cut above anything else in the outdoor gear industry.

You would expect climate and sustainability initiatives, but here’s something different: attention to DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) concerns.

You can read the details in this pdf:

REI Product Standards PDF

They also want to cut their carbon footprint in half (or more) by 2030, and you can read about how they intend to do it in their blog: REI Carbon Footprint Reduction


The National Park Service is offering 6 admission free days for 108 national parks, monuments, historic sites and nature preserves. Add these dates to your calendar right now so you can make plans:

• January 18 • April 17 • August 4 • August 25 • September 25 • November 11

If you’re planning some multiday U.S. adventures, take a look at the America the Beautiful pass to cover your entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges, national forest and grasslands, for up to 4 adults in your vehicle!

Veterans and senior citizens can purchase the pass at a discount.

Read my article for tips on how to use it to the utmost:

Why A National Parks Pass Makes Sense For Hikers


I like my trails free of human decoration, but apparently this holiday season many folks disagree.

This article from the CBC explains the growing phenomenon of decorating hiking trails, and I mean really decorating them. See what you think!

Trail Decorations?


Are you making 2021 resolutions as a hiker?

I’ve decided on only one: to get more serious about hauling out the trash and detritus I find at backcountry campsites.

This resolution was inspired by women in our Over Forty Hiking community. They shared tips (with photos) to put together a lightweight “trash kit”.

I hope you’ll join me in resolving to not only Leave No Trace, but to Pack Out Unsightly Traces.

Full disclosure: I just made up that acronym (POUT) and while it’s not my finest work, you know what I mean :)


If wishing made it so, I would shower you with wishes for peace, good health, and plentiful hiking adventures in the coming year.

Heck, I'm going to shower you anyway! You never know ;)

Thanks for being a hiker. The Earth needs our gentle, loving touch now more than ever, "pout"ing included.

Happy Trails to you today and into the New Year,

Diane a.k.a. Happy Hiker

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