Leaving my house it was -10 and getting warmer with the sun. At Campbell Creek Science Center it was a frigid -20 below, the ultimate threshold for going outside and being comfortable. It is the limit for keeping kids inside at Recess in Fairbanks. After a week of subzero temps and a winter of unpredictable & extreme weather flucuations, 5 of us parents and our combined 6 kiddos took a chance and went for this mornings' Trek. We had absolutely no expectations of staying out long, the goal was just to get out, even if for only a few minutes. Despite the bitter cold temps the days have been full of stunning sunlight filtering through crystalized, frost covered trees. The alpine glow, brilliant.
Two parents and their kids turned back shortly after they started. They knew their kids and their limits this morning. 3 of us carried on for about 40 minutes, turning around when we knew the kiddos were about done. Taking kids out at these temps may seem crazy, but we aren't out to push our kids' limits to the max. Our goal is to only spend as much time as our kids are comfortable with, and to listen carefully to their cues. Getting fresh air is so important this time of year when the temps and the weather have us cooped up, sharing germs and going stir crazy inside. I've had hikes where we didn't make it from the parking lot to the trailhead. It just wasn't our day. The attempt is what is important.
I've found the best way to keep my little one happy, outside in these temps, is to bundle him up in his winter gear, put him inside a footmuff with a handwarmer at the bottom, and then stick him inside the stroller w/ the weather shield down.