||How to Prepare for Foggy Weather
Surfing, cruising and endless sunshine; that is what California is all about right? Yes, California and the rest of the west coast is sunny in the summer, much sunnier than say, Michigan. However; it is not sunny right on the coast for much of June through August.
In the summer, you will find fog hugging the coast from Ventura, California to the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. (The fog turns to rain on the Olympic Peninsula. They don't call it a rain forest for nothing.) This span of coastline includes San Francisco and the surrounding area.
What is coastal fog like? It can be thick enough that you can't see the ocean from highway one. Fog can be cold. Even though it may be close to 100 degrees F. in the Sacramento Valley, the fog keeps the coast cool. San Francisco can see high's in the low 60s in July.
How to Prepare for a Vacation in the Fog
- #1: Mentally prepare the family for the possibility that when you are on your only vacation of the whole year, on the beach, hoping to soak up the sun, there may not be any sun. Set expectations accordingly.
- Bring a sweatshirt and wind breaker everywhere.
- Don't stay in the hotel room just because it is foggy outside. You might not ever go outside.
- If you are camping, bring enough bedding and bring even more warm clothing. We bring fleece hats.
Good Things About Fog
- When there is fog, it is much less likely to be windy. A foggy day in the 60s is warm enough to romp and play on the beach in a swimming suit (at least warm enough for kids) and much more pleasant that dealing with wind and blowing sand.
- If you are a photographer, fog provides opportunities to take photos with much less contrast and glare. It is also very nice for taking pictures of star fish in tide pools. The fog prevents the sun from reflecting off of the water and allows the sea life to show through.
- Also if you are a photographer, photos of a partly foggy sky are much more interesting than a photo of a totally blue sky.
How to Dress to Play in the Snow
If you are traveling to the mountains from September through May in the western United States, it could snow while you are there. To enjoy the experience, bring supplies to keep your whole family happy. Prepare your kids to play in the snow.
- Gloves: Mittens are warmest. Buy dollar store knit gloves to wear underneath for extra warmth. The outer glove needs to be water repellent.
- Pants: Assume your kids will end up sitting in the snow. Bring water repellant pants. If it is very cold wear long underwear. If you don't have any, big pants with sweats underneath will work.
- Hat: The best hat will keep your ears warm and protect your eyes from snow and rain.
- Shoes: Tennis shows will become wet very quickly and even if your child doesn't complain today, she certainly will tomorrow when she discovers her only pair of shoes are wet. Bring boots and many pairs of warm socks.
- Neck Warmer: If it is likely to be very cold, bring neck warmers. Our favorite is Turtle Fur.
- Jackets: Any jackets will do as long as you are wearing enough layers. Fleece makes a nice under layer and something wind resistant for the outer layer.
You have probably heard about hypothermia. You know not to get wet when it is cold. The dangerous part about winter is how you react to the unexpected.
These boys are playing on an icy pond in Yosemite National Park. They are about 1 mile from the parking lot, so no one's life would be in danger if they fell through to the shallow water.
This is just a reminder that if given the opportunity, kids will find a way to play in the most dangerous place in the area. Even for short hikes, take extra socks.
|Surviving in the Wilderness
As your children grow they can go on longer hikes and may start backpacking. Most urban dwellers do not receive specific training on how to survive in the wilderness. Teach your children to survive if necessary. Start by reading Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. That should put them in the mood to learn basic survival techniques.
The Discovery Channel has useful information about how to survive in the wilderness. We enjoy watching Survivorman, a new TV show about how to survive. It is too scary for younger kids, which means it is great for older ones.
There have been too many examples in the news lately of people who were lost or stranded in the wilderness. If you want to avoid making the national news, prepare for the worst and bring a Survival Kit with you on every hike; no matter how short.
Even on easy hikes every hiker should carry a survivor kit on their person. (Imagine throwing your back pack down to distract a bear. If your survivor kit is in the backpack, now the bear has it and you don't.) Here are some examples of small but lifesaving items that would fit into a Band-Aid box.
- Lighter, metal match, waterproof matches, flint with built-in striker.
- Snare wire.
- Signaling mirror.
- Wrist compass.
- Fish and snare line and fishhooks.
- Small hand lens.
- Oxy tetracycline tablets (diarrhea or infection).
- Water purification tablets.
- Solar blanket.
- Surgical blades.
- Butterfly sutures.
- Condoms for water storage.
- Lip balm.
- Needle and thread.
- Knife or multitool.