It hasn’t been the best winter for outdoor hiking this year. So icy so snowy, and I’m a wuss when it comes to being cold. But I’ll venture out enough to take snapshots around my home, especially when the snow is newly fallen, and leaves the world so bright and noiseless.
Most of the time, it’s early morning, before the snow has been disturbed by city life. I tromp around in my pajamas, boots and hat trying to capture the gorgeous vistas of Western Pennsylvania. Sometimes I succeed, but sometimes the pictures don’t do justice to the silent winter scenery.
I’m a Texas girl–I love my sunshine, heat and humidity, but snow never fails to impress me. I’ve been here 8 years now, and seeing the world covered in white has not gotten old or any less wondrous. Maybe it will, but I hope not.
I couldn’t believe my luck. On my day off, the weather decided to warm up to the mid 60s. What did I decide to do, go hiking! I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to get outside in the sunshine in the middle of winter. Winter is tough season for me. I thrive in the outdoors and HATE being cold, so you can imagine how I feel being cooped up indoors for months and trying to stay warm. It’s also not good for my waistline–too much sitting, too much eating!
I was smart this time–I wore appropriate footwear–calf length water proof boots. They were a little too warm for the weather, but my feet and legs stayed dry as I sloshed through the mud, melted snow, streams, and left over ice all along the trail.
It had been so long since I hiked miles, up hills, down hills, that my calves are sore today. It’s awesome!
January was a cold one, and I admit, I’ve taken advantage and stayed indoors to hibernate, or really veg on the couch. It’s hard to convince yourself to bundle up in twenty degree weather and go hiking. This last week, the ground has been covered in snow and ice, and as said before, I lack the best footwear for this hikes (until I buy hiking boots with my Christmas REI gift card! So exciting!). But last weekend, I got the opportunity to play in the snow and go cross county skiing! This was my first foray into winter sports and it was a blast. And by blast, I mean, I continued to have fun despite falling down, alot. a.l.o.t.
The drive to trails was boring and full of concrete, until all of a sudden, it wasn’t. As we entered the park, the snow was whiter, fresher, and beautiful. What a transformation! In the warming hut, we rented skis, along with the rest of western PA, and hit the trails. It was hard trying to find a rhythm, and I did my best to keep up with my trail mates Good news, I was at least better than the 4 year old, but otherwise, I was definitely the slowest.
After two hours, you would think I’d be more coordinated and better at managing the skis. I wasn’t. I felt I actually got worse the longer I was out. But it was worth it, because sometimes, I’d be down in the snow, and look around and find myself alone, surrounded by the beautiful quiet forest, completely blanketed in white. If you don’t live in a state with snow, it’s hard to describe the quietness it creates. Even in the city, when it snows, everything is just so….quiet, serene, calm.
I don’t know when it will snow enough again to embark on another winter skiing adventure, but I’m looking forward to it. Not the falling, or the day after soreness, but being surrounded by winter and the quiet I just can’t seem to find at any other time of year.