Winter Camping: Basics
Why camp in the winter? Because winter strips life down to a state of raw intensity. Because it turns even a modest local park into place of undiscovered, magic wilderness. Because 16-hour nights let you catch up on your sleep. Because there are no bugs, no rattlesnakes, no crowds. Because there may be no peace like that of a winter forest.There is a vast difference between being out in the cold and being cold. A cold hiker is a miserable hiker indeed. Fortunately, with a combination of thorough preparation, the right gear, and the right skills, a winter hiker can be comfortably cozy even in the kinds of deep-freeze temperatures that usually send those survey-addicted newscasters into apoplexy.
First things first. A winter hike requires an attitude adjustment on the part of the hiker. A winter trip isn't about mileage, or getting somewhere fast. It's about time: spending time, taking time, letting time slow to a crawl.
Nothing happens quickly on a winter hike.
The extreme conditions aren't dangerous in and of themseles if you have the equipment to keep you warm and the sense to stay out of trouble. But with slippery ice underfoot and threatening clouds overhead, there's more that can go wrong on a winter hike, if you let down your guard.
Excerpted from Advanced Backpacking: A Trailside Guide. Copyright © 1998 by Karen Berger. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
- Karen Berger
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