Winter is a wonderful time to get out of your “cabin” and enjoy the magnificent Southern Appalachian Mountains.
1. More Views – When the leaves are off of the trees it opens more views. The famous Blue Ridge Parkway really opens up to vistas that are usually hidden the rest of the year. Many of the overlookeds that have not had the view maintained are now more open and viewable.
2. Easier to see birds and animals – The birds and other wild life that are around are often much more visible. Without the heavy leaf cover the birds that flit through the foliage have nowhere to hide. They are very easy to see. You may even spot some new ones for your life list.
3. No bugs or other crawling things – OK this one is subjective. Some people like to get out in the mountains and find new insects and other crawling things. Some people do not. This is the great time for those people who do not like bugs and other crawling things. When the temperature drops, insects and cold blooded things just are not around. Leave the DEET at home and hit the trail. Although, if you happen to hit the trail on a rare, warm and sunny day, you could find some cold-blooded creatures also enjoying the warm sunshine along with you.
4. More clothing means fewer scratches – Some lesser traveled trails that have had a good growing season may have made narrows with excess growth. In the summer this means branches and briars against bare legs and arms. But winter time is a great time to forge on through. With a couple of layers of clothing on your legs and arms, you can brush side limbs and briars without slowing down.
5. Less traffic and easier parking – In the winter the most popular hiking trails will be less populated. Often, you can have the whole trail to yourself. Also, you will have your choice of parking at the trail head. You may even have the place top yourself.