Although your footprints in the soft snow may melt and disappear as the seasons change, memories of winter hiking adventures will remain etched in the halls of your mind. And you can always revisit them when you need a mood boost during the colder months of the year.
But if you’re the kind who has yet to develop an appreciation for snowshoeing or trekking through ice-covered terrain, here’s a rundown on what makes winter hiking a special adventure like no other.
A Different Sort of Challenge
Trekking in wintry conditions is more difficult as there are less people on the trail and the weather conditions could be unpredictable and inhospitable all of a sudden, depending on the location or route. The fact that you will be bringing more gear to protect yourself from the cold also adds to the difficulty. You will also be taking a different set of precautions due to the weather. For example, you need to be mindful of keeping your water from freezing during your hike, which is not the case when you’re climbing in the summer.
Less Crowds, More Solitude
Naturally, there will be less hikers trudging about in such cold weather. As such, you won’t have to deal with a lot of traffic on the trail and will have more solitude. This is good news for those who like to hike in small groups or take solo treks. You’re able to de-stress and explore the inner landscape of your mind and soul while navigating through snow-clad terrain.
Better View of the Landscape
The reduced trail traffic and the absence of leaves from trees and plains allow you an even wider and better view of the scenery. Also, the snow gives the landscape a different look, seemingly adding to it a layer of majesty and wonder. You’d marvel at how different a familiar trail looks in the winter, which is one good reason to revisit your favorite summer mountain route in the colder months of the year.
As everything’s covered in snow, you won’t have to deal with flying insects and other creepy crawlies during a winter hike. Also, you don’t have to worry as much about itch-inducing or poisonous plants, which is definitely good news. As such, you can focus more on the trek and the sights.
Soul Stirring Silence
Winter has a different atmosphere – everything seems more still and quieter. Such an environment offers you more opportunities for introspection, which is not a bad thing especially if you like doing that during treks. The starkness of the winter landscape can be a relief from the hustle and bustle of the urban jungle. The silence can help you recharge your batteries and return to the civilized world refreshed and with more interior capacity to deal with your daily challenges.
Gear Galore Opportunity
If you’re the type who’s geeky about gear, winter hikes give you a great opportunity to test out new finds or gear up the way you’ve always wanted to. If you’d rather go easy on the gear, you can always stick to the bare essentials – warm layers of clothing and crampons or snowshoes.
Survival Skill Test
Some winter trails are difficult and require survival know-how. If you’re the kind who likes an extra challenge and want to test your outdoor skills, hiking in the winter is the perfect opportunity for that. Or, if you’re still developing your survival skills, you can practice them during winter at trails having a difficulty level that is within your capacity.
Have you hiked in snowy conditions? Will you be going on a trek this winter? Tell us about it in the comments!