For all those folks out there who aren’t fans of winter hiking, how do you manage? Sure, you can escape to some places that are warmer, or you can try to learn how to enjoy being outside during this season. But, what if none of that does the trick? What if there’s just something about this season that makes you feel a bit gloomy, even if you do enjoy hiking in this weather? After all, aren’t there just so many things you CAN’T do during this season. How can you survive those winter backpacking blues?
Love is in the backcountry “air”
Go on an outdoor date. You might be wondering what on earth that has to do with trying to appreciate winter hiking. But, whether you’re single or you’ve been married for 30 years, using a romance as a means to get outside really helps with that whole feeling down in the dumps thing. Getting outside with another person helps you get distracted from the cold and the lack of sunshine. It also allows you to create beautiful memories with another person. This will get you to start associating the wintertime with some positive experiences.
Meet some like-minded outdoor enthusiasts
If you’re not really in the place to go on a date but you want to meet others, this time of year is a great time to join Meetup groups and hiking groups. Head to your local backpacking store or look online. Meet up with others, make new friends, and create new experiences. It’s a great way to get out of the house and enjoy backpacking this season.
Hit a dog-friendly trail
Don’t have a human to go backpacking with? What about a canine? Dogs don’t seem to mind the snow. Actually, some dogs really love it. Having a dog period is one great way to get outside. You have to walk it, after all. But, more than walking it, having a dog is the perfect reason to try a new trail or have some company on your backpacking trip. This time of year, a lot of parks are empty and dogs are allowed on the trail. Just make sure they’re safe! (And, maybe have some booties to protect those paws!)
Learn a new outdoor skill or sport
You can also take up a new outdoor activity or skill. Some people like backpacking in winter because they can try to conquer new and challenging trails. Others like it because they can to put new gear to the test. And, even others enjoy trying something different, like snowshoeing, ice climbing, or camping under the winter sky. One way to survive those winter backpacking blues is by doing something this season that you can’t do any other time of the year.
A sport like backcountry skiing is also very popular. It may not be how you envision exploring the backcountry, but it’s definitely a cool thing to try. You can trade in the tent for a cozy log cabin or chalet, and explore the wilderness at your own leisure. Hit up some hot springs or even go searching for your own Christmas tree while you’re at it.
Explore winter backpacking destinations abroad
Why not travel abroad to hit hiking trails somewhere else? North America certainly has some of the world’s most beautiful hiking destinations, many of which can be visited all year round. But what about Everest? El Camino? The Inca Trail? Patagonia? All these places are just waiting to be explored. If you can’t be bothered with winters in the U.S., then just know its summer in the southern hemisphere!
Crave the outdoors
Last but not least, get inspired. Read books about the backcountry. Keep an adventure journal. Attend a winter backcountry festival. Watch films about hiking. Explore new trails that you want to try once the weather gets warmer. Create your own backpacking bucket list.
Whatever you do, don’t let the winter backcountry blues get you down. You WILL survive it. And, trust us. Six months from now when you’re baking away in the sun and the mosquitoes are eating you alive, you’re going to wish it was winter again.