What are Gait Studies? Gait refers to the movement pattern the animal is using and the corresponding gait pattern is left for trackers to interpret. In human terms, walk, jog, run, sprint, sit, stand, kneel, etc, etc.
Winter Solstice in one week! On that day the sun will deliver a whopping 8 hours and 51 minutes of daylight to us here in Vermont, which is not enough. Soon, El Nino will leave us, temps will drop far below zero, and the ground will disappear under snow until April....
Its time to settle into a cozy warm house, tuck into your favorite winter beverage, turn on Netflix and hope the winter is not too long, too cold, and that the cabin fever does not turn your household into gibbering lunatics.....
Or, you can get up, get dressed, and get outside!
In my line of work I meet a lot of adults who are scared of the dark, especially in a woodland setting. Beat your fear by easing into it. Take short walks at night with friends or a spouse.
Bring a headlamp and a small back up light. It is amazing what even 15-30 minutes of moving in the crisp night air can do for your head. Once you are comfortable with getting out try doing parts of your walk or stopping and hanging out without the lights if there is moon or star light. When there is snow on the ground it will reflect the natural light and make it a lot easier to see.
You can always click on your light and laugh at how scared you were of the nighttime cruising of a jumping mouse.
Finally, if you don't live in the sticks like me then be aware of the most dangerous animal, humans. Take appropriate precautions to avoid cars and human predators. Flashlights and not being alone are a great start.
But don't let anything stop you! I have seen some of the most gorgeous moonlit scenes on nighttime winter walks. We go into more depth with this at our Winter Survival course.
Winter gear tips:
Expensive is not always warm-Second hand wool, fleece, and silk is just as warm as new stuff. Avoid Cotton!
Buy it Loose- Loose clothing allows you to comfortably layer with out restricting movement and blood flow.
Keep it clean- Dirt and grease can fill the air spaces that allow clothing to work as insulation.
Many Layers- is much better than having one thick layer because you can adjust carefully to weather and physical activity changes.
Say No to Tight Boots- If you don't wan't ice blocks for feet.
Thermo-Regulation is Key- Sounds fancy right? This just means you keep “Comfortably Cool” so you do not overheat and sweat into your base layers. Water transfers heat 25X faster than air.
Don't Skimp on Base Layers or Socks- Good wool or Silk base layers and copious amounts of wools socks are clutch.
Find your Winter Passion
Whatever it is, you need a wintertime love, to get you outside, hanging out with friends, and moving. It does not matter what it is, skiing, riding, x-country, ice fishing, hare hunting, winter tracking, or skating. Try the old standby, sledding, which has been medically proven to reduce symptoms of aging and stress. If those don't float your boat, you can always try something new until you find your reason to be out in the forest in the winter.