Mike’s birthday falls the day after Valentine’s, so typically I try to plan something fun and special to cover both of those occasions. This year, we decided to test our mettle and do a weekend in the backcountry that involved snowy camping, and a snowshoe trek in.
We’ve been out to The Point many many times, but it’s one of the few backcountry campgrounds that are open and accessable in winter. It seemed like a reasonable place to go for our initial foray into winter backpacking.
The trek out was quite lovely. The weather was agreeable, and it wasn’t too windy. Parts of the trail were covered in extremely deep snow, and even with our snowshoes we sunk some. Also we learned about the awesomeness that are gators! Thank you so much for those, Michelle 😀
When we made it to camp, the first order of business was setting up our accommodations and getting our things sorts. Mike gathered a bunch of fire wood while I made our bed. We are quite a good team when it comes to setting up or tearing down camp (we’ve done it enough, we definitely should have the hang of it by this stage, HA HA).
It was a long day, so after enjoying some supper and a bit of campfire, we went to bed for the night. There was a bit of snowfall overnight, but we stayed toasty warm in our tent. The worst part about it all is trying to convince yourself to get out of the cozy sleeping bag in the morning!
After much self-convincing, we made our way out into the frosty morning air. Coffee was made and breakfast assembled and eaten, and then it was off for some exporing and hiking around. The usually-familiar landscape is less recognizable all covered in snow. The waterfall that we hiked to was frozen over, even though you could see water moving beneath the ice, and in a few open spots downstream. We were quite surprised by how many other brave souls were camping out there with us! We anticipated being the only ones, but several other groups came and stayed as well.
That evening I made us a special treat: backcountry chocolate fondue! Our dippers were all dried fruits, which were really lovely and sweet dipped in the slightly bitter dark chocolate. We also toasted to Mike’s 33rd birthday with some white wine.
We finished off our second night with another campfire of course, and reminiscing about some of the great adventures we’ve been on and what kinds of things we want to do in the future (maybe the Sawback this summer). The weather was great, and even after darkness fell (along with the temperature) we stayed warm by the fire until it was time to turn in.
The following day we got up and packed our things. Hike-out day is always a bit of a sober affair, but the sun was shining, so we couldn’t really complain too much. The snowshoe walk out went by quickly and before we knew it we were back in the truck and headed home. With the incredibly mild winter and early spring-like weather it was an ideal year for going to the woods mid-Feb. Now that we’ve gotten over the initial nervousness about camping in the winter I hope we will have more chances to go in the future!