The Colorado Plateau may be a desert, but it is a high desert. And in the winter, the days are short, the nights are long, the temperatures are cold, but the scenery is beautiful.
And though I enjoy car camping in winter, there is something intrinsically satisfying about winter backpacking. The gear is simpler than car camping, of course. But so are the activities. You go to bed early after watching a sunset from camp, you might read a bit but the natural rhythm of the human body to sleep at night takes over. A cocoon of down, wool, fleece, and nylon envelopes you. And the sleep is a sound one.
And before night comes?
The last rays of the winter sun light up the red rock. And even during the day, the light has a warm, welcoming glow about it that beckons you further into the canyon. And though the nights may be long, some hot chocolate while looking at the Milky Way above never gets old.
And during the winter, the familiar and the popular seems to be deserted. You have the park to yourself. Gone are the crowds. And you have just the scenery, the terrain, and the canyons. All to yourself.
Each turn of the trail leads itself to something new and wondrous. And more places to explore beckon.
And they are all enjoyed during winter.