EL PASO, Texas – Every November 17, hikers across the United States celebrate their very own holiday- National Take a Hike Day. The United States- with its thousands of acres of National Parks, State Parks, monuments, and more- boasts plenty of hiking grounds wherever you go.
Here in the Borderland, we also offer a variety of trail action, from the Franklin Mountains to the Organ Mountains, to Mount Cristo Rey, and the four National Parks in our region. On Saturday, November 19, hikers will be making a pilgrimage to the top of Mount Cristo Rey to celebrate the Feast of Christ the King.
This year’s pilgrimage will be a little different than years past, where confession and reconciliation will be available on the mountain. Food and beverage vendors will also be at the event. The event will kick off at 8 a.m., the procession will start at noon, and a mass will occur at 3 p.m.
But what should you do if this year’s pilgrimage or any day that you want to take a hike is a cold one? There are still safety precautions you need to be aware of, even in cold weather.
First, although you may not feel as thirsty hiking in cold weather compared to when it’s hot- you still must bring plenty of water for the hike. Your body requires water, whether you are hot or cold, so make sure to pack plenty for your hike.
Another good idea is to dress in layers. When you first start your hike, it may feel cold to your skin, but as you move, your body will start to warm up, and you can shed some of those layers. However, remember that it is important to keep your hands covered, especially in a very cold environment. In addition, long socks and a hat are a good idea to keep all parts of your body warm.
Avid hiker Delbert Humberson shared with ABC-7 to ensure you have warm enough clothing in case you get injured and have to weather the cold overnight hours in the middle of nowhere.
Sunscreen is important any time of year, so make sure you have it handy on all hikes. It’s particularly important if hiking in or around snow, as the white coloring of snow has a high albedo (a measure of how much solar radiation is reflected off of a surface). That means, as the sun hits the snow, it will reflect some of that radiation on you, which could lead to painful sunburns.
Finally, just be aware of the time change. In most of the country, as Daylight Saving Time ends, the days get darker a lot earlier than before DST ends. If you head out on a hike later in the day, it may get dark in just a few hours, so you’ll want to plan accordingly. Stay safe and enjoy!
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