I looked at the text message and before I replied I check the weather to see what sort of alert we were going to have.
Severe Weather Alert I got one on my smart phone: Wind Chill Alert. Shall we stay in or go? What do you think? The text was from my neighbor. We had a night hike planned. She is still learning the ins and outs of dressing for our rural winter weather.
I checked the air temperature and it was 3 degrees. The light 'breeze' ... can you call it a breeze in the winter? ... the breeze felt light and from the west.
The winds would have to pick up to nearly 40 mph for the Wind Chill Alert of the expected -25 to -30.
I didn't see that happening in the next hour or so. I stood outside on the porch for a little bit in my stocking feet and sweatshirt. It was chilly but dressing correctly would make our night hike comfortable.
I stepped back inside. I texted her back.
I can keep us out of the winds rather easily by taking some deep woods trails and following the valley. Your call.
She texted me back with what she thought she would wear and I told her to check her email.
I wrote out an easy system of layering for the cold hike, keeping in mind that a good healthy pace would keep us warm.
As it happened it did drop to zero degrees and it was chilly. But we headed out across the night landscape and ducked immediately out of the light wind and onto a forest trail.
We climbed the steep bank down into the creek bottom and both of us loosened up our coveralls a bit.
It felt much warmer near the running water.
We found some beautiful ice formations where the water splashed over rocks and onto grasses to make the neatest shapes.
I got this with my cell phone and the added light from our headlamps really helped.
Lauren obliged and took my phone so I could kneel near the formations.
I was sneaky, I nabbed a shot of her too.
We walked to the end of the valley which involved some tricky climbing up and down the banks of the creek. I showed her the Big Spring and the hoar frost that had built up on the mossy rocks was incredible.
I should have taken more photos, but moving was keeping us warm.
We made another stop at a part of the creek that had branches across it.
We dawdled on our way back admiring more of the frost on the grasses and the rocks that formed because of the air temperature difference between the running creek and the cold air.
Neither of us were eager to end this 'bone chilling' hike. Well actually it was not bone chilling.
We were not cold at all.
We were warm despite the weather alert.
However let me say that yes wind chills are nasty and one should be careful.
Yet a person should dress for the weather and not for style when going out in very cold temperatures.
Layering is essential. Hats, gloves, mittens, scarves....well you get the point.
Indeed the Weather Alert was still on Lauren's phone. And we laughed about it as we came to my lighted porch to part ways for the night.
Lauren said that she'd never in her life had been so comfortable in the winter. I'd opened up her perceptions of winter. Winter could indeed be enjoyed better now that she'd learned a bit about 'dressing for the elements'.
And there she was eager to do it again soon. Despite wind chill alerts.
Of course we would be smart enough not to challenge a really bad day.
And there you go, another night adventure.