A swell time in winter

Joan and I certainly enjoy cold-weather backpacking. With the suitable clothing, gear, and technique, we can comfortably get down to some frigid temps.

But sometimes, it’s easier and more convenient to camp out of our truck, make use of our very large and warm winter bags, and take a copious amount of cold-weather gear. Weight be damned!

And sometimes it just makes more sense to check out an area via car-camping with shorter hikes accessible by vehicle, not many people, and places set up to roam about with the shorter daylight hours.

And that’s how Joan and I found ourselves camped in a prominent area not far from where I’m typing. The usual red rock delights, images, canyons, and other places but somewhat more obscure than more well-known areas.

The area included free “dispersed” sites with picnic tables! PCO Joan.

I think of these truck camps as lower-key versions of hut trips.  A type of trip Joan and I quite enjoy in the winter months.

And this trip proved no exception with the colder days and the colder nights but with a certain beauty brought out by the ice and snow.

PCO Joan

With no surprise, the south-facing alcoves felt both warm during the winter and contained images from people who no doubt felt similar.

We continued our roaming up and down the area and enjoying the nooks and crannies of the canyons.

The various images represented various eras, cultural groups, and points in time.

After a cold but cozy evening, we woke up to another clear and stunning day in the canyon country.

And we saw more off-the-beaten-path images down a side canyon.

The hike back, though gentle terrain, proved as scenic as anything else we saw that weekend.

I joke that all Joan and I do is “putz around and kill time” on weekends.

But we rather enjoy the life we crafted for ourselves.

And that’s all we need.

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David Noll
David Noll
7 months ago

Dang Paul, you two get to some really gorgeous places. Thanks for taking me along via your posts.

Ellie Thomas
7 months ago

A beautiful trip. I’ve spent time backpacking some through NM on the CDT, and I’m about to go hike the AZT (which I fear is getting crowded), but I would definitely like to spend more time in your neck of the woods. Gorgeous, and it appears without the crowds.