I wanted to get in a winter backpacking trip this past weekend.
Something simple, straightforward and without too long of a drive.
I had a plan that was somewhat ambitious and would take me to the cusp of tree line.
But the predicted heavy gusts with accompanying wind chill dissuaded me from taking the exposed route.
I instead went lower and more sheltered into the aptly named Peaceful Valley.
I would still take my gear sled and meander along in the sheltered valley.
Something about hauling a sled in the woods, while on skis, made me conjure thoughts of voyageurs and coreur de bois.
This song seemed appropriate at least on a musical level…
A logical place for camp was soon found not long after crossing into the wilderness area.
Sheltered, out of the wind, and large enough to accommodate my tent.
The views from near my camp were not too bad, either!
My evening accommodations were basic, but the view was rather lovely.
I soon settled in for the night.
An appropriate libation was enjoyed.
My trusty white gas stove was fired up. The low roar of the stove was soothing. While I was melting snow, I shut my headlamp off. The wind through the trees, the stars above and my stove steadily working made for some quiet and peaceful moments.
Soon, enough water was made for the following day’s breakfast, dinner that night and enough water to tide me over until the morning.
I pre-packed my winter meal. A concoction of rice, chili, Hatch green chile, cheese and a liberal amount of hot sauce. Since I like to hydrate as well, I added some extra water and shredded in a tortilla. A quick and easy TexMex style soup. In the winter night, it went over very well!
I enjoyed my beer and soup from the comfort of my sleeping bag.
I felt content, relaxed and enjoyed the quiet night.
Night time chores completed, I settled in for the evening. Some planned reading was skipped. I started nodding off and slept well over twelve hours!
I woke up refreshed. When properly equipped with a good site selection, putting a dent in the sleep deficit is perhaps one of the best parts of winter backpacking!
Morning coffee and oatmeal was made. Camp was broken. I had an enjoyable and gradual downhill ski back to my car.
One last look was taken to the higher country.
As I am looking over my calendar, I probably won’t be able to winter backpack again until the middle of March. On-call rotations and other trips are planned.
But there is something enjoyable and satisfying about a simple winter backpacking trip. I need to get on another one the first chance I get.