BRING A MUG, PEOPLE! Fresh batteries! And (like Mom all'us said,) "Wear yer dang HAT."
Somebody forgot to pay the heating bill, and it's getting a bit cold out there! We're not worried about electrolytes and hydration -- we need Warm Hats! Gloves?!?!? OMG! Who'da thunk it?!?
For that matter, if prior Wednesdays were good for testing rain gear and hot-weather clothing, for the next few months, Wednesdays will be the Winter Layering Test Kitchen -- wear all your fancypants $8,000,000 "Miracle Wicking" fabrics and WindBlockerStopperThermo(Nuclear) Fleeces and all the rest of it...and we'll see what holds up. What works at what temps? How do you wear enough to stay safe/warm, but not over-burden OR commit that headiest of winter sins: SWEAT?!?!? (If "Cotton Kills," the gun is loaded with wetness.) Wool, silk, and synthetics that let snow just slip right off: great stuff, that.
So how do you do it??? Test test test.
"Hey," they replied, "that's Wednesday nights!"
TIME FOR A NIGHT HIKE!
Will your base layers wick sweat without storing it? That will keep you warm even if you *do* slip up and sweat.
Will your intermediate layers nest? You need each successive layer to fit comfortably over the ones you're already wearing *without* binding your movement OR compressing any loft (insulation value!).
Will ALL of your layers allow you to maximally vent away excess heat/moist air, without untoward exposure to that vicious enemy, Wind??
AND WEAR IS YOUR HAT?!?!? How do you know if your clothing *system* works? YOU TEST ON WEDNESDAY NIGHTS!
(And, bring your mug -- I mean, ANY hot chocolate is *good* hot chocolate, dont'cha think?)
Things to bring:
you. hat. mug. FLASHLIGHT. COMPASS. excellent/neato clothing, something yummy on which to munch post hike, something tasty on which to sip ("adult-ish" or not) post hike, WATER, a bag of sticks (seriously! You think these fires come out of thin air?!?), a log or two (I mean, if you want heat from a fire, right?), your hiking stove/kitchen (there's nothing like an infield test, where you can still sleep at home if the thing bombs), CHAIR!!! BRING A CHAIR!!, blankie, OH, AND BRING ATTITUDE. (Come on: you're hiking at night, in winter, in cold and snow and rain.... you don't think some attitude is called for?)
We may stay on trails, we may bushwhack for a considerable distance, or both. Variety is our spice. BUT POST-HIKE, we'll seek to debrief in either Bryant Creek Shelter or Cherry Lake Shelter -- out of the wind, and with the possibility of a nice fire. (Not guaranteed, but hey: we do what we can, right? Maybe Gary can find us a pizza haven in M'ville....)
In any event, BREAK UP YOUR WEEK! STAY FIT! NIGHT-HIKE YOUR WAY TO WEALTH AND FAME! (Well, at least night-hike your way to comfortably traversing hardwood forests in the dark -- it's no big deal, unless you haven't done it.)
BRING THE KIDS. (Don't they *really* need a little fresh air and cool breezes to redden up those cheeks some? Sure they do. DRESS 'EM WARM.)
BUT PLEASE: IF YOU DO RSVP "YES", please also update with a "no" if you're not coming -- otherwise, 8-12 people will be waiting for you on a winter night, and no, we won't be thinking pleasant thoughts.
We meet up on the southwest side of Indy -- IN37, to be exact, right after peak rush hour. DEPARTING from McDonalds at 5:45pm, we pick up the Martinsvillians at 6:15, hence heading down to MMSF, pick a trail, and go burn it up. Light-n-fast "work-out" hike in a nearby, but still very neat, forest. We rotate the trails (in choice and direction) so if your favorite has gone by, don't worry -- we'll change direction and do it again! We'll bushwhack!
MMSF has 4 primary hiking trails. Here's a very compressed map that benefits from zooming in: http://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/files/fo-MM_Hiking.pdf Low Gap and Three Lakes Loop are both roughly 10 miles, Mason Ridge and Rock House are roughly 3 miles each. If we started a 10 mile trail at 6:30pm and march (or run for those so inclined) at 2.5mph or better, we're done at 10:30pm. 3 or 6 mile trails might just be an hour or two.
So! Whatta ya say? A little deep, dark forest action in the middle of your week?