Car camping in winter is an activity I find luxurious. With the proper gear and equipment, the long winter nights are a chance to make some good food, catch up on reading or even sleep, and enjoy an area with fewer people.
My time in The Badlands ended up being so memorable, in part, because of the time of the year. The landscape takes on a surreal quality and the stark landscape with snow arguably brings out the scenery more than the prime seasons.
And the time spent in Chaco Canyon one December is among the better trips I’ve taken.
Warm sleeping bags, puffy pants, some warm boots, and maybe a nip or two of whiskey make for a fine time while winter camping and not roughing it.
What I won’t do, however, is knowingly go into rough weather conditions if I have to drive. Driving along twisty backroads and dirt roads off-the-beaten-path is no fun when there is a lot of snow, wind, and ice.
Our original plan to camp in Capitol Reef turned into a local(ish) hike just off the highway exit at Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons. A favorite hike near Goblin Valley, we had this eight-mile loop nearly to ourselves.
Little Wild Horse features small slot canyons, some easy scrambling, and a twisty path.
Bell Canyon’s hike is partially on jeep track and has more expansive views overall.
After the hike, we drove back to our place. The wind picked up, and we could hear the mixture of sleet and snow outside.
We woke up to a blanket of snow everywhere in Moab. A good day to just walk out or front door and step into and above a canyon not far from our place.
A relaxing day without any driving. And just enjoying the areas around us.
The following day we did some winter fun up in the La Sal mountains. Cold, but sunny. Overall good weather to enjoy some winter fun!
View this post on Instagram
BagTex – The Poor Person’s VBL … With estimated temps hovering around 10F or less up in the La Sals today, we had a brisk ski tour for me and snowshoeing for Joan. For you kick wax skiers, the green wax came in handy! … My usual attire of a base layer, fleece, and thicker softshell-type pants (I rocked old school wool pants while Joan borrowed my thicker running pants I now favor), and a warm hat worked just fine. … However, for both of us, our feet and hands needed a little something extra today. We both wore thicker boiled wool mittens. And on both our hands and feet used a poor person’s version of a Vapor Barrier Liner. Or a VBL for short. … And this magical equipment? Simply exam or kitchen gloves and oven roasting bags. Simple, effective, and inexpensive for when the cold weather hits and the hands and feet need to be warm. .. Oh, and the views weren’t bad today, either. I knew Moab abounded with red rock delights. But a blanket of snow on the surround 12k ft peaks certainly makes winter a good time to be in Moab! … More details about how a VBL works and the quick and dirty way to make a VBL in the linked article found on my profile. .. #moab #Utah #skiing #snowshoeing #LaSals #Lasalmountains #nordic #winter PCO @ramblinghemlock
Joan borrowed an old pair of my snowshoes, and I explored further ahead on skis.
I skied up to the pass and back and then bumped into Joan again just before we reached the winter trailhead. Perfect timing!
We soon reached the car. I removed the “beardsicles,” and Joan confessed she wants to try out Nordic skiing. It looks like my snowshoes will again be back in the closet!
Not the weekend we planned, but keeping it local ain’t bad at all when your local area is Moab.