Adirondack Outdoors Show 2014 Issue : Page 39

By KEvIN MACKENZIE Why Winter Hike? Memories to Explain the Fascination a cLoud swathed RidGe cReates a suRReaL scene . As I post my winter outings online I wait for the inevitable question, “Why would you enjoy spending so much time outside in such harsh conditions?” References to the cold temperatures, unpredictable weather and exertion are inherently part of the question. My motives differ little whether I’m walking half a mile to a pond or bushwhacking to a remote slide. Winter hiking is indescribably stimulating and allows me to feel each moment more than in any other season. hat neces-sities to take and how to plan a safe trip are topics unto them-selves, but once you acquire enough experience, you can safely spend a day outside in relative comfort. Master your needs and the sky is the limit. Almost any type of weather becomes an op-portunity to relax in nature on her terms while captur-W ing unforgettable photo-graphs…all without biting insects. Note that winter hiking can have dire con-sequences if not taken seri-ously. Sit back and try to visu-alize the scene as I describe a few moments in time from various outings over the years. phantoms on a ridge A seven-hour walk from the trailhead found a friend and me trekking in mildly deteriorating weather, but proper layering kept us dry and comfortable. We were snowshoeing off-trail on top of several feet of con-solidated snow with a light dusting of powder. Perfect-ly formed tracks—a pine marten, coincidentally--led the way along our desired heading. T he mountains were obscured because of the low cloud ceiling so we navigated via compass and topographic map. Even in fair weather, it’s an excellent way to exercise the mind. Higher up, we entered a surreal world of lightly blowing snow atop a cloud-swathed ridge. Our line of sight was limited to perhaps 50 feet. Spruce and fir, al-ready stunted from the short g rowing season at eleva-tion, were partially buried 39 ADIRONDACKOUTDOORSMAGAZINE.COM

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