How to stay (too) warm on a hike

Posted Feb. 23, 2011, at 7:23 p.m.

As radio commentator Paul Harvey would say, now for the rest of the story.

I can vouch that the hike was steep, strenuous and dehydrating. It was the first time I had ever snowshoed up a mountain and I have lived in Maine my entire life. I quickly learned I was out of shape. Every now and then I stopped and grabbed a tree to prop me up while I rested.

I told myself before I left for the hike that I would dress warmly so I would not get cold. I pulled on a pair of thermal underwear and layered that with a pair of jeans and ski pants that looked like they were filled with puffy marshmallows. I also wore a thermal top, a short-sleeved shell topped by a flannel shirt and a ski parka. I had to resort to walking stiff-legged.

I was fine until about midway into the hike, when I discovered that there was no way for me to remove my pants without taking off my snowshoes and my boots, so I suffered. I was able to unzip my parka and remove my hat and mittens to release some of the steam, but to go to the bathroom, forget it. Needless to say, my drinks became sips.

Although the students weren’t asking how much longer, I was. At one point, I contemplated returning to the start to walk up the Access Road, but decided otherwise. I figured if the students could do the rugged route so could I. I did. The walk across the ponds with the wind slapping across the face, however, did me in. I turned about and descended the mountain on the Access Road and left the students to their fun.

I did learn, however, that winter isn’t so bad after all.

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