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Hiking Gift Ideas
December 06, 2013

December 2013: A Note From Diane

Happy Holidays, Hiker!

Winter is approaching us here in the northern hemisphere. That’s if you are a patient person who goes by calendar events such as the winter solstice.

In all practicality, winter is HERE. Seattle, for example, is experiencing record cold temperatures, and if I hadn’t grown up in the upper Midwest, I’d use the word "bitter" in front of cold. However, I don’t want my friends in Minnesota to scoff so I’ll let it go as “a bit nippy”.

So what’s a hiker supposed to do with all of this cold weather?

Hike through it, if possible.

Proper layering is essential, as well as having a back up plan if you’re detained in the cold for any reason. The ten essentials + a thermos of your favorite hot beverage, and a lightweight emergency shelter at the bottom of your pack makes sense.

Don’t tackle ambitious trails on these short, cold days. Stick to established routes, and know what the weather is going to do in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Second best approach to winter? Embrace the holidays as they approach!

I’ve gathered a few ideas for gifting your hiking companions during whatever festivities you’ve got planned. I do hope that you’ll have a chance to check them out.

Trail Buddy Gift Ideas

Let’s start with a gift idea for our four legged trail buddies.

The dogs in my life think about nothing but FOOD (full disclosure: me, too, while on the trail for longer than an hour). So I was delighted to see these

all natural, lightweight meal replacement bars for dogs.

It really pains me when I meet people on the trail who confess to not bringing food and water for their exhausted trail pups. From now on, I’m going to stash a few of these bars in my pack and become a “trail angel” to whatever famished golden retriever or black lab I chance upon.

In fact, I think I just made my first New Year’s Resolution!!

Next stop: lightweight emergency equipment.

Having looked at these titanium emergency whistles, I’ve resolved (Hey! Resolution #2! I’m on a roll) to trade in my vintage plastic Oscar Meyer wiener whistle (no kidding! It’s from my first hike in 1971!!) for one of these slick little beauties.

Take a peek at their headlamps, too.

Here’s a gift idea that has the full backing of scientific evidence behind it.

Find the highest quality nuts that you can, put together a tasty mixture, and bag some up for each of your human & primate trail buddies.


Because the evidence that nuts are really good for you should motivate you to share them with those you love to spend time with.

I’m not monkeying around! Forget what the "beauty" magazines preach about nuts making you fat. As the article says, “Regular nut eaters were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease -- in fact, were less likely to die of any cause -- during a 30-year Harvard study.”

And you thought GORP (especially the Peanut part) was just a tasty way to pass the time on the trail! Munch a handful of nuts at your next rest stop. Just don’t overdo it.

A handful here and there, now and then, along the trail should give you all the health benefits without piling on weight or stressing your digestive system.

2014 First Day Hike

Resolved to hike more in the upcoming year?

You’re more likely to get out on the trail regularly if you start off the new year with a hike.

The American Hiking Society provides

this resource for planning a so called “First Day” hike in your local state park.

As I’ve already mentioned, short safe hiking destinations are the way to go when you want to get out but not get lost or weather-nipped.

And hiking with a few brand new “best trail buddies” might also start your new year off on (dare I say it? aw, why not?) the right foot.

And speaking of feet, thanks to all of you who took time to write to me with bunion advice and encouragement. If only nuts could cure bunions :)

I've got lots of good info coming up for you in my 2014 newsletters, so stay tuned. I appreciate the fact that you make time in your busy days for opening my humble little communique.

Best wishes for December trail time, whether virtual (as you plan your upcoming adventures) or actual. Make the best of these short winter days because before we know it, mosquitoes and mud will come around again.

From me to you,

Happy Trails always.

-Diane a.k.a. Happy Hiker

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