Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to stay in! It’s good for your health to get outdoors, to breathe fresh air and soak up some sun, even if most of your body is covered. We’re lucky to live in a part of the country where outdoor activities are possible almost any day of the year. Of course, hockey, skiing and other winter sports might be what first come to mind when you think of winter activities. And while the mountains of North Carolina are well known for their beautiful ski slopes and family friendly tubing, they don’t have the corner on outdoor winter activities. Here in Stokes County we’re home to Hanging Rock State Park, an area you can enjoy year-round, even in the depths of winter, for free!
Check out the park map to find a few trails that might fit your schedule and activity level, and then pack up the kids, the dog, or just your snack and water, and hit the road. Some of you brave souls might be up for some winter camping, and if so, there are great campsites available. But Hanging Rock also makes a great day trip, affording the chance to escape from the hectic routine of life in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, or Charlotte and let your mind free in the great outdoors.
A few tips before going out for your winter hike:
• Wear sunscreen. Just because it’s not hot doesn’t mean the sun’s rays can’t be damaging. Luckily, there isn’t as much of your skin exposed this time of year, so slathering up takes a lot less time!
• Dress in layers. You want to be protected against the cold and wind, yet still able to be comfortable when you work up a sweat on the trails.
• Bring plenty of water. Same as the sunscreen, you won’t be as hot, sweaty and thirsty in the summer as you would be in the summer, but you can still get dehydrated in the wintertime.
• Hike with a buddy, or at the very least tell someone where you’re going. This is an important safety tip no matter what the time of year, but even more so now when the trails are less crowded. If you do happen to slip and fall and twist your ankle or get hurt some other way, there’s less of a chance of a fellow hiker happening along than in the busy summer months.