I had a fairly easy, nine mile hike about 45 minutes north planned for the weekend. We had gotten some snow during the week, but most of it was gone. I went with my trailrunners and some gators, grabbed my spikes in case there was any ice and off we went.
Much to our surprise, which really shouldn’t have been a surprise, there was six inches of snow at the trailhead. Some snowshoes or tall gators would have been really nice right about now but we didn’t have them and started out.
The first mile was not too bad, some snowmobiles had been out and the snow was packed down and easy to walk on, but then we hit the beautiful fresh snow. It wasn’t long before shoes became wet and feet were sloshing around.
Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the hike, I was slightly irritated that I was not more prepared for winter conditions and had forgotten items that would have made our time in the woods more comfortable. I had let the unusually dry and warm winter cloud the fact that it was indeed winter.
Hiking when I was a kid was me, a backpack, a water bottle and sneakers. Later on I had a pair of Dr. Martins (those boots are not meant for hiking) or some converse. I then discovered Birkenstocks were perfect for wandering through the woods. Sometimes. As I continued through the now slightly smushy snow, I thought about how I currently owned almost everything I needed for all types of weather and yet, my feet were wet.
While it is entirely possible to hike and backpack with minimal or basic gear, it is always important to be prepared for the conditions, which can change as you travel to your destination or while you are on trail. My partner was not really in danger of the frostbite he mentioned several times along the way, but the discomfort of wet feet kept him from really enjoying the day.
Fool me once, fake winter, shame on me…but I will not forget my soggy yet beautiful trek through the snowy forest and already put my bag of winter gear with my pack.
See you on the Trail…. Suzanne