We are in the throes of winter, and even though this winter (at least for us) has been a mild one, I’m still grateful to curl up in a warm bed. It would never, ever enter my mind that I might be fun to go out and camp . . . in the snow. There are people who feel differently, however. There are some people who think that camping out in below freezing temperatures could be a grand, exciting experience. I’ve never been one of those people. Winter camping has never, ever been on my bucket list, and yet, I have been winter camping. Why? Because I married a man who can talk me into almost anything and one year he talked me into going camping in the dead of winter.
“It’s not as cold as you think it will be,” he said.
“We can build a quinzhee,” he said.
“Winter shelters are so efficient, they actually get toasty inside.”
“It will be fun.”
These were all the lies that I believed, the lies that got me into a pair of cross country skis venturing out for a night of winter camping.
Guess what happens when you ski for miles and miles to your camping destination? You get hot and sweaty. Then you stop. And then you get COLD.
The promised warm quinzhee winter shelter did not work out as planned. The tent that was erected instead was not “toasty.” It was freezing.
I don’t know if any of you remember years and years ago when Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler Rulon Gardner wrecked his snowmobile and spent a night stranded in Wyoming in the snow and lost one of his toes to frostbite?
That was the very same night that I spent winter camping.
I’ve never been so cold.
The purpose of this un-bucket list is to outline some of the very cool things I’ve done that I never planned to do. This is one of those things, but instead of being “cool” it was cold. Most of my un-bucket list experiences were wonderful, great experiences. I can’t say that of winter camping. It’s not one of my great memories. I promised to never go again, but admittedly, there is something alluring about vast expanses of snow under moonlight and the quiet of winter. There is something to be said of waking up to a muted world and the intimacy of listening to your own breathing. There is something appealing about traveling to a place on your own, under the power of your own muscles, of seeing your own breath and finally getting warm enough to nod off to sleep.
There is something to be said for having experienced it.
And oh, how I love being warm again.