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January
10

Winter Adventures in Grant County: Must-Have Hiking Gear

Winter Adventures Grant County

Access to beautiful scenery and numerous outdoor activities attracts many people to Grant County homes for sale. The fun continues all year long, as our real estate agents share a list of must-have gear along with helpful tips for cold-weather hiking.

Hiking Clothes

CLOTHING

  • Layering is often used as a fashion statement, but for winter hiking, it's an essential strategy to keep you warm and dry. This also allows you to adjust your clothing to fit your level of exertion, such as moving from uphill to downhill.
  • Cotton traps moisture, which makes it a poor choice for a base layer of clothing. Choose synthetics or Merino wool, which will hold a thin layer of heat while wicking away moisture.
  • Most of the insulation comes from the mid-layer. Down or synthetic puffy jackets are light but substantial enough to provide plenty of warmth.
  • Finally, think of the outer layer as a "shell," designed to keep wind and rain out. Waterproof material is required, and you should go larger than your usual size to accommodate the layers beneath.
  • When it comes to the bottom half, a mid-layer is optional. With your legs doing the majority of the work, they tend to stay warmer. Many hikers also find the extra layer to be too bulky, preventing comfortable movement.
  • When it comes to hiking, wet feet are more than just an inconvenience. They're an actual danger to your health. But resist the temptation to go with super-thick socks that can cause poor circulation. Better to bring an extra pair in case the first ones get wet.
  • Of course, waterproof footwear is a must. You might be able to get away with Scotchgarding your summer hiking shoes, but if you plan to do any regular hiking, a good pair of winter boots is well worth the investment. Expecting deep snow? Consider adding a pair of gaiters.

Hiking Hat

ACCESSORIES

  • OK, it turns out Mom wasn't quite accurate when she said we lose most of our body heat through the head. But it's still important to keep your head and ears warm. Whether you use a beanie, earmuffs, or headband is a matter of personal preference.
  • Gaiters, buffs, and scarves will keep wind and cold from creeping down inside your collar.
  • Don't make the mistake of thinking that sunlight isn't a factor during cold weather. Despite the temperatures, it's surprisingly easy to end up with a serious sunburn. Apply liberal amounts of sunscreen, lotion, and lip balm, and frequently reapply during your hike. Protect your eyes with polarized sunglasses that will cut down on glare.
  • Gloves vs. mittens has long been the subject of debate among experienced winter hikers. Fortunately, you don't really have to choose. Opt for a hybrid solution that combines glove liners with mitten shells.

Hikers in WV

EQUIPMENT

  • Cold-weather hiking adds another purpose to the already essential backpack. Make sure it has sufficient room to store the layers of clothing you'll be adding and subtracting throughout the hike.
  • Counteract the dry winter air with lots of water. You may also want to pack an insulated container of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
  • Microspikes are like chains on your car tires, providing a greater level of traction on icy surfaces. They're small enough to carry with you at all times, just in case.
  • Focus on protein bars and other portable types of food that you can eat without having to stop.
  • A first-aid kit should be a part of any outdoor activity. Other emergency gear includes a map, compass, GPS device, knife, and firestarter.

Hiking Petersburg

COLD-WEATHER HIKING TIPS

  • Whenever possible, hike with a companion. If you do go out by yourself, share your plans, including your intended route, with a friend or family member.
  • Daylight hours are short in the winter. Start early to avoid getting stuck on the trail at dark.
  • Check weather reports and trail conditions right up to the time of departure. Continue to monitor the weather during your hike.
  • Don't let pride jeopardize your safety. If the weather turns bad or you don't feel physically able to complete the hike, head for home and save it for another day. 
  • Weather and location can interfere with the operation of tech devices. Bring extra batteries, keep devices warm, and have a contingency plan if there is no cell phone reception.
  • Stay hydrated by taking regular sips of water. Don't wait until you're thirsty.
  • Pay attention to your level of warmth and adjust your layers accordingly. You don't want to be so warm that you start sweating, which will cause chills when the moisture starts to dry or get so cold that it's impossible to warm up.
  • Know the symptoms of hypothermia: shivering, drowsiness, slurred speech, and lack of coordination. 

Life in Grant County in never short on opportunities for adventure. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to learn more.

September
13

Happy Cat Month: How to Make Your Home Cat-Friendly

Home Improvement for PetsWhether you have one beloved cat or a full house with multiple cats, you want to provide a comfortable, safe, cat-friendly home environment.

September is National Happy Cat Month. Yes, there really is a recognized month when cat lovers celebrate their feline friends. Happy Cat Month is an annual event held in September that serves to inform and educate cat owners about creating a cat-friendly home. At Old Dominion Realty, our real estate agents take pride in supporting the well-being of our furry felines. Take a look at ways you can create a cat-friendly home.

Cat in Home

Create an Outdoor View

Although your cat may be an indoor-only feline, they will welcome an outdoor view of trees, plants, flowers, and outdoor critters. Cats are curious creatures, and they need stimulation to stay happy. If you're looking for properties in Virginia, many homes have spectacular outdoor views that will keep your cat mesmerize your cat for hours.

Keep Your Cat Active

Keeping your cat active will provide exercise and mental stimulation. Cats love to play, so they love cat toys with playful interaction. You don't need to buy expensive toys since cats like unwinding balls of string, attacking shadows on the floor, jumping up to catch a feather, and chasing toy mice. Taking time to play with your cat shows affection, creates strong bonds and promotes healthy activity.

Tabby Cat

Create Vertical Spaces

One of the best ways to create a cat-friendly home is by providing vertical spaces where your cat can climb. This is especially important in multiple-cat households where cats need their own private space. Cats love to climb and perch themselves high above the floor where they feel safe. If Broadway homes for sale have high ceilings, you can use tall cat trees with multiple levels, as well as cat shelves that can be attached to walls and windows.

Indoor Cat

Provide a Cozy Bed

Cats spend a lot of time sleeping, so they need a cozy bed where they feel safe. Some cats like to rest and relax in different spots in the house, so you can use soft quilts, blankets, and large throw pillows to create cozy places to relax in different rooms. For cats who like to hide, soft baskets and decorative containers are cozy options for Dayton homes for sale with large rooms and open floor plans. 

Buy a Scratching Post

Cats scratch to file their claws and mark their territory. If you don't buy a scratching post, you're likely to find scratches on your walls, cabinets, furniture, and upholstery. Scratching posts should be as tall as possible to allow your cat to scratch vertically at a full stretch. If you build a floor-to-ceiling scratching post in an area where your cat likes to scratch, your cat will love you, and your furniture will last a lot longer.

Indoor Cats

Buy a Quality Food Bowl

Cats look forward to eating their food. As creatures of habit, they prefer regular daily feeding schedules, food placed in particular bowls, and meals served in certain places. Cats are picky about their food. It's best to buy a food bowl made of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel so you can wash it. Avoid bowls made of plastic that can give off chemical odors because your cat will turn up his nose. An elevated food bowl will keep your cat's whiskers cleaner and out of the food.

Provide Fresh, Clean Water

Water is essential to your cat's health, so make sure they always have fresh, clean water. Most cats like their water bowl near their food, but some cats prefer water in separate locations. Cats are natural hunters, so finding a water bowl in a different room rewards their hunting instincts. Cats prefer water bowls that are filled to the brim so they can drink without putting their heads down. Pet drinking fountains encourage drinking while creating a playful experience.

Pay Attention to the Litter Box

If you have a cat, you need a litter box. Cats instinctively know how to use a litter box, even if they have never stepped into one. Make sure your cat's litter box is big enough for your cat to easily move around. If you have two cats, get three litter boxes. As a cat owner, you owe it to your cat and yourself to clean out litter boxes every day and refill them with clean, fresh litter. Dirty litter boxes can quickly create unhealthy, stinky odors in your home. 

Ready to find a new home for you and your cats? For information on Virginia homes for sale, contact us for available listings and prices in different neighborhoods. 

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