Those attempting to escape on the Underground Railroad faced a long journey filled with uncertainty, fear, and the very real possibility of never reaching their goal. Winter was the best time of year to escape, for the long nights provided more time to run and the Ohio River was frozen. Enslaved individuals would often be given free time around Christmas, which made opportunities to escape more frequent. Regardless, traveling into the colder weather of the north would be difficult. Additionally, the runaways had to have a safe hiding place and have people to trust. The risk of being caught by slave catchers was high. By the time of The Fugitive Act of 1850, more and more slave catchers were traveling north with guns, horses, and bloodhounds, eager to find and take fugitives slaves back by any means. The journey north was hundreds of miles long , especially for slaves who wanted to go to Canada. Having little knowledge of the land, little or no money, avoiding slave catchers, finding safe stations, and trusting the instructions given by others about to get to freedom all made escaping risky and difficult.