It’s not about not seeing other people, but it’s more about losing yourself in the wildness of the natural world from which we came from and evolved from. When you’re in the forest in the winter, you can no longer hear cars, trains, planes, human voices, gun shots (hopefully), nor be bothered by all the sounds humans create. When you’re left with the natural sound of the wind creaking the trees, then a great peace can come over you, and if you meditate, there is no better place or time to reconnect with not only Nature, but with yourself.
After years of doing so, I despise living in a city, so it’s not a problem for me anymore, but when you do live in a city and your everyday is surrounded by the hustle and bustle of modern life then you never have a chance to be alone, with your thoughts, with peace, in tranquility. I am a firm believer that too much chaos leads to a full and clouded mind, which leads to a condition where it’s difficult to think clearer, to rise above emotions, and to be fully in control of your life, and feelings, and it’s possible your overall happiness level has dropped with being constantly surrounded by too much clutter.
So this winter, plan a trip, even if it’s only for a few hours and then you’re back again. I find camping in the wilderness in winter to be a worthwhile experience, because sure it’s a lot of work, and you must adept yourself with skills and techniques to ensure optimal survival and basic comfort. When you have time to fully disconnect, you allow yourself to recharge. I feel like every idiot on the road, and every loud sound, every advertisement, and every situation causes my heart to raise or my tension to boil, a little part of my soul is chipped off, and the only way to truly get it back is to recharge in Nature.
When you do plan a winter trip, I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan accordingly. Survival in the wilderness in any season can be dicy if you don’t have the proper experience. Survival is about understanding the situation you’re in with a level head and acting strategically, so for winter camping for instance, be sure you know how to make a fire in winter weather, and how to find your way back out, and how you will deal with a set back like an injury or a winter storm worsening your situation. You always want to come prepared with enough clothing to layer properly, and a knife, and water, and food, and etc. The list goes on, but the point is that if you want to try this for yourself, you need to take some precautions. Study what you don’t already know and pack for whatever might come.
If I’m traveling in early or late winter, I will employ a lighter sleeping bag like Slumberjack’s Country Squire 0, which is graded at providing warmth and safety to 0-degrees. When I know I could be flirting with subzero temperatures, I sometimes will rent a bigger bag that has the capabilities to handle -15. But if I’m being honest, I find myself avoiding travel when those sorts of extreme conditions might interfere with my trip. It’s not a lot of fun traveling in winter when your face can freeze off in seconds. No thanks.
However, I do indeed find winter camping to be among the best of experiences, because as I said already, it’s peaceful. But even more than that, it’s seeing and experiencing another one of Mother Nature’s sides and I find the snow and the mountains stunningly beautiful. Besides, you’re much more likely to find animals in the winter. And nothing beats wildlife sightings. The Country Squire 0 is one of my goto bags because it elevates my comfort level without becoming a burden when I need to carry my gear on a hike.
The Country Squire 0 is warm and comfortable, with soft fabric that helps me sleep like a baby, even if my face is freezing off from the mountain chill. It’s made with a two-layer offset construction and poly-cotton liner that ensures you won’t be woken up by icy drafts. The carry weight is 12 lbs 2 oz and packs down to 17”x40”, so it’s reasonable to work with, even when I’m lugging around a rucksack pack, tent, hatchet, etc. From my years of experience, there’s usually some areas that leak but Slumberjack took that into consideration and included a fabric liner that keeps cold drafts from sneaking in at the zipper.
(Photo by brookpeterson via Flickr)