Getting Outdoors in the Deep Winter

Although winter is seemingly intermittent where I live this year I still love and miss it.  We have had a few days of actual winter weather and even more days of spring time temperatures.  The mix has been upsetting because I love the winter, I really do.  The pictures above are from a few years ago, there hasn’t been enough winter yet for any good pictures. I love the cold, the snow, the added challenge.  I love layering, I love the smell of a cold day, I love the feeling of inhaling ice, I love the silence and I love the way it looks.

The winter is a great time to get outside.  It offers a whole new dimension, a new look at the wild and new ways to explore them.  Hiking trails are often deserted in the winter and there is something about hiking through snow no one else has touched.  Something about knowing that you’re the only person that’s been to a particular spot.  It feels like breaking new ground.

It’s also a great time for running as the snow and cold add a new challenge to runs and training outdoors in the winter will make you better in the summer.

It’s a cool (no pun intended) way to get out of the more crowded gyms.  There is also something about running trails at night in the winter that is almost magical.  The only sounds being your breath and the crunch of snow.  Seeing steam drift off your body by the light of a headlamp.

It adds a whole new dimension to a run.  On a related note, if you’re going to trail run at night in the winter be sure to wear a headlamp, falling on ice and sliding down a hill into a river is not a fun experience.  The light will help you see the ice before something like that happens, it can be a cheap twenty dollar thing or even a Powercap my new favourite winter running accessory (and for under thirty bucks).

I have seen more wildlife hiking in the winter than I have ever seen in the summer.  The combination of less people and no foliage make sighting animals that much easier.

I think smells might not carry as well either or maybe I walk silently in the winter because I have come across whole herds of deer, a lone coyote and a few foxes and raccoons (as well as countless birds) on separate occasions and managed to end up right on top of them before they noticed me.  There is nothing more amazing than being in the middle of a herd of deer as they run through the snow around you.

Get out there.  Love the winter and here’s hoping that it comes back soon as I am missing it.  What are some of your favourite winter memories?  Or if you absolutely hate let me know why, I hope this post changed your mind just a little bit if you don’t like winter.