The week of January 1st began a pleasant New Year’s Day with highs in the low 40’s. The skies were mostly overcast with some sun at times. The forecast for Monday included periods of freezing rain which never developed. The morning temperatures were in the low 20’s but rose to the mid 30’s in the afternoon. Tuesday began with light rain and temperatures in the high 30’s. The forecast for Wednesday calls for cloudy skies and double digit winds dropping the temperature from the high 30’s to the high 20’s. By Thursday the cold moves in and the breeze remains. The highs should be in the low to mid 20’s but the windchill will only barely crack the double digits. On Friday the cold remains with highs in the low 20’s and cloudy skies. The wind will diminish so the windchill will be close to the actual temperature. Saturday looks to be much the same with temperatures in the low 20’s but with periods of sun. Be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to keep you from developing a chill in colder temperatures. Clothes that have pit zips are great and layering with non-cotton materials are a must for the varying temperatures. Keeping hydrated in cooler weather can sometimes be tricky as you do not feel as thirsty but hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. It is also time to start bringing along the spikes or crampons since the melting and refreezing can cause spectacular areas of ice on the trails. Snowshoes will be useful especially at higher elevations where snow fell instead of rain. Be sure to carry water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Remember, the weather forecast is only a prediction and always contains percentages. Be prepared and have a plan for the most likely and least likely forecast! Are you prepared to stay out overnight on a trail? Conditions in the morning can change drastically by afternoon. Conditions at the trailhead do not always reflect the conditions on the peaks! Variable trail and weather conditions are a hallmark of these mountains. BE CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED!