With winter temperature hitting freezing or below, many visitors can opt to stay inside a lodge in front of a warm fire. While there is a lot to see or do, the weather keeps many inside. For park rangers, braving the elements is part of the everyday job. They know the secret to keeping warm and comfortable, and even safe in an icy environment. Staying dry and alert is an essential step in protecting the people and wildlife when out in nature.
In a career that used to be made up of men, women have not only left their footprint in the great outdoors, but have also made a significant impact as park rangers. To do their jobs in the winter months, they know that staying warm means staying dry as well. Wet clothing can lose 90% of its insulating abilities. Park Rangers know that women’s thermal sets and layering are the best way to retain body heat and that if you get wet, to head for shelter fast. Even on milder winter days, a women’s thermal top is still a necessity.
Park Rangers have a few ways on how they keep warm:
• Wrapping a scarf around your face and breathing through that will warm air going into your lungs. Be careful of longer scarfs as though they may look great, they can cause injury on the slopes or an icy branch if you aren’t careful.
• Hydrating is integral in the cold, and you should drink lots of water. A lot of water is lost while breathing cold and dry air, plus your body works extra to keep your body temperature where it needs to be.
• Your feet have the poorest circulation in the body so wear the right socks and boots when hiking in the snow and cold. Your feet are highly susceptible to frostbite.
• Stay alert for any possible hazards and on marked trails. Be aware of snow ledges and any potential avalanche dangers. Don’t feed small animals and stay away from larger ones as they can travel through the snow faster than you. Animals, even smaller ones than are even more unpredictable in the colder months as it’s a critical time for them. If you disturb them, they could bite and use the energy they need for survival.
• Layering is an important part of being a park ranger or enjoying a national park in the cold months. Women’s thermal sets as a base layer, a middle layer to retain your body heat, and an outer layer to keep you dry from the outside, are essential to surviving and working in the winter while outside.
A women’s thermal top is perfect for relaxing in the lodge or for milder temperatures, but as weather changes, it better to be prepared than not. Park Rangers work hard in helping the wildlife and visitors alike and know first-hand what it takes to make the best out of a very cold situation. If you need advice, talk to one, and they’ll let you know the best way to tackle a winter hiking trip.