Nov 26, 2011 at 10:47 am #1282425
3 season backpacking is coming to a close, gun season has been keeping me out of the North Woods for the past two weeks, and the occasional flurries we've been seeing just serve as a reminder that the time for epic winter trips is not yet here. Judging from the way that chaff has been heating up lately, I'd guess I'm not alone.
I've ramped up my crosstraining (focusing on hip flexors), picturing myself postholing through 3 feet of snow across a frozen landscape. I've packed and unpacked my winter backpack a dozen times. I've also been running my dehydrator non-stop, filling the freezer with hearty, winter-style menus (slow-cooked moose stew, venison chili-mac, quinoa elbows with spicy sausage).
What are you guys doing to fill the void?Nov 26, 2011 at 11:23 am #1805702
Ken T.BPL Member
Really lucky here along the Coastal Ranges. Can hike and camp all year. Though the Mrs. and I do mostly car camping in the winter.
The campgrounds are empty. Bliss.Nov 26, 2011 at 11:50 am #1805707
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Actually just about to get started in Arizona and maybe southern California (we'll see). Just got one more week of work before 2 months of vacation. Last year one abnormal snow dump was followed by the worst drought and fires I've seen (the "Willow" fire and Bandeliers "Los Conchas" fire). Nothing like skiing at 10,000 ft while a forest fire rages a couple peaks over below snow line at 7,000 ft in March. Then the forests were shut down, not reopening until it was time to work again.
Of course, Texas and most of the southeastern US had it worse, so I imagine there's some pent up hiking fever from Arizona eastward…
Add that the sun still sets early, even on the border, and water is still a concern.Nov 26, 2011 at 1:43 pm #1805742
eric chanBPL Member
headed out for a quick day walk/hike right now in the pouring rain … see if my rain gear still holds up
shietty weather days are just god telling you to test your gear on day trips ;)Nov 26, 2011 at 2:45 pm #1805758
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. RainierNov 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm #1806033
<del></del>Nov 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm #1806034
Mary DBPL Member
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
You're looking good! I hope all continues to go well!
At least you have a good excuse for getting bigger. I don't!Nov 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm #1806036
<del></del>Nov 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm #1806037
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
I'm doing the same thing I always do, which fills the void quite nicely, running 5-6 days a week. Doing so clears the mind, renews the spirit, and conditions the body. I don't have anything concrete planned for this winter, I rarely do, maybe a few overnights/weekends if I can sneak away from the business of family and holiday stuff. The beauty of getting out and running trails in the week for me is that I very rarely get antsy to get out into the backcountry away from my family, I can go two months without a single bag night under the stars and sleep just fine. With that said, I missed the peak colors up in the Gila this fall and I'm still a bit bummed on that, but I'll get over it. It's backpacking as usual year round here, doesn't change much until you get up high, we're getting some snow now.
I'm looking forward to your upcoming reports from the Icebox.Nov 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm #1806041
As the husband of a hiking buddy says: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices". That pretty much says it all about living in the soggy Pacific Northwest. We hike and train year around up here. No excuses.
But, yeah, Chaff does tend to heat up this time of year. For those of you who are relatively new to BPL, stick around; come January, as cabin fever and SAD start to take their toll, the fur will really start to fly. ;-)Nov 27, 2011 at 4:30 pm #1806044
It's not the weather keeping me out of the woods this time of year, it's the guys with the guns. I have no desire to ruin their backcountry experience, and still less to have them ruin mine. Come December 1st, I'll be out again.
Sarah, congratulations. Eugene, I do have some special stuff in mind for the "icebox" this year- that's why it's so hard to wait for the snow to fall. Timothy, see you out there. Michigan's a special place.I'll probably be doing some dune walking come next week.Nov 27, 2011 at 4:58 pm #1806049
Travis LeannaBPL Member
>But, yeah, Chaff does tend to heat up this time of year. For those of you who are relatively new to BPL, stick around; come January, as cabin fever and SAD start to take their toll, the fur will really start to fly. ;-)
This year, I think cabin fever and SAD carried through the spring and summer.Nov 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm #1806052
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
I swear the off-season was all year this year in the PNW. I was so bummed – by the time the snow melted I was too tired to hike much. I got in ONE FREAKING HIKE this summer that was spectacular and it took me an hour to hike the last mile uphill – the only thing that kept me going is my hiking partner is slower than dirt and no way was I giving up – and being beaten by her. LOL!! She kept encouraging me to make it. I have severe anemia when I am pregnant. So I haven't done an alpine hike since early August :-(
We had so much snow and then no summer – I was picking blueberries at home till September! And then it went from spring weather to fall to winter here. I am spending so much time inside looking out – I can't wait till spring :-( I have about 10 more weeks or so till Baby #3 is here.
But I have a shiny new stroller for them – just waiting to hit the rail to trails – this spring! Until then I must not start any fights ;-)Nov 27, 2011 at 7:15 pm #1806090
Paul WagnerBPL Member
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
With the mountains full of snow and ice, and our free time quite limited, we stayed close to home for the Thanksgiving holidays. But that's not to say that we didn't get out and enjoy ourselves.
You may know Stag's Leap as a part of the Napa Valley (a couple of wineries share that name) that is famous for world-class cabernet sauvignon. But the name comes from a mountain in the Vaca Range east of the Napa Valley. And there just happens to be a trail to the top of it. With a nice more or less sunny day in late November, we couldn't resist the temptation to climb up and take a look around.
There is no official trail or trailhead, just a parking area on the side of the road, and a use trail heading up the hill. And it's quite a hill. The trail climbs about 800 feet in the first 3/4 of a mile. The good news is that the views start almost immediately, and so there are lots of reasons to stop and rest–I mean look at the views.
Once up on the ridge the trail tracks the ridgeline southwards, showing first one side and then the other of the views. Napa Valley to the West, Rector Reservoir and Pritchard Hill to the East. And looming over it all is Stag's Leap.
The last mile is a steady and sometimes steep climb up the rocks to the top, where you have views over the whole northern San Francisco Bay area, from Mt Diablo to Mt. St, Helena and Cobb Mountain. And if you looked carefully, you could see the peaks of coast range even further North.
Best of all, since it was autumn, the leaves of the vineyards were a wild range of colors, from bright yellow to deep red, and often in fascinating patterns.
The hike was six or seven miles, and we loved every foot of it!Nov 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm #1806096
deletedNov 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm #1806589
Ryan CBPL Member
Since I cannot go on my dayhike exercises now due to all the trigger happy hunters around here, I pass some of the time by playing with my Amateur "Ham" Radio equipment (FCC licensed, it is not CB). Just this past weekend I made radio contact with other operators in about 80 different countries around the world. Think of it as two-way HF shortwave radio. We sometimes even use Morse Code because it is fun!
Many of us enjoy operating with lightweight portable radio equipment from mountain peaks or while camping. Some of us also volunteer with Emergency Service Agencies to provide radio communications support during natural disasters, emergencies, and other events. It is a good hobby for when I am not traveling or backpacking.Nov 29, 2011 at 2:04 am #1806612
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
ike, I'm totally envious about your backcountry menu.
I started climbing about a month ago. Mostly at the gym so far, but in the long run just aiming to increase my mountain skill set. Using similar visualization techniques for motivation (my fingers are actually aching as I type this, but thinking about climbing the flatirons makes it all better.)Nov 29, 2011 at 7:36 am #1806673
@benwoodLocale: flatlands of MO
man i gotta tell my story here. I moved from NM to Missouri to go to school. I haven't seen a real mountain since summer, and I still didn't get to go "in" the mountains. Missouri is not a good place to live for those that love the mountains.
I was confessing to eugene just yesterday that I often imagine a giant 14er looming over the end of my small town main street, just like i was in Silverton, CO or something. Having lived near the mountains my whole life, I've realized I will be back! just a year or two to go…..it not that long.Nov 29, 2011 at 9:10 am #1806704
@leslerLocale: right here, right now
while i agree, it's a tough time o' year– shortened days alone make it far more challenging for post-work bliss. i believe too that it's more mental than physical. my strategy of choice is to make every excuse to make NO excuses. light or dark, warm or cold, it's about momentum. just like water, let it flow.Nov 29, 2011 at 11:21 pm #1807034
Well, I do that year round. But the winter and snow are for day trips or just staying home. Done much of that in the past but not too thrilled with it now.
And I'm making up two first aid/survival kits like Mike C! and Steve Green show in their videos. I think I'm better prepared now and I'm a whole bunch lighter too. Then its on to analyzing my gear list. And of course, some day hikes and hopefully some good swell so I can keep up my water skills. Doldrums, what doldrums?Nov 30, 2011 at 3:30 am #1807049
Rifle/shotgun season ends today, and an unexpected bonus..Dec 1, 2011 at 7:15 pm #1807778Dec 4, 2011 at 4:33 am #1808479
That was mean.
I'll console myself in the knowing that we'll soon have some epic snow of our own. In the meanwhile, I did get out for some really nice shoreline hiking this week.Dec 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm #1808642
"That was mean."
I'd say we're even, Ike. I was raised in Michigan, up between Petoskey and Cheboygan outside a village called Indian River. That picture brings back many fond memories of similar walks. My only question: Lake Huron? Or Michigan?Dec 6, 2011 at 5:58 pm #1809515
It was Lake Michigan, but for what it's worth Lake Superior is where it's at.
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