Who's excited to be outside for 3 days in February? Me, for one! Let's go...
After tallying all the votes, it looks like the last weekend in Jan/start of Feb is the dates set for the winter trip. So away we go!
For those of you who have backpacked in the winter months, you know that hiking and camping can be quite a bit challenging, especially if large amounts of snow are present. Staying warm, sleeping comfortably and setting up camp are all much more difficult…and all that with a limited amount of daylight hours. That being said, backpacking in the winter is truly an amazing experience. The forest sleeps quietly, and often the only sounds one hears are the crisp ice under boot steps, the teeth of an icy wind on a frozen tent fly or the puffs of cloudy breath as you exhale. Pristine ground, covered in crystals and snowy white makes for beautiful moments of serenity and peace. And there is nothing better than a roaring fire and a bit of whiskey shared among a group of badass winter hikers!
We will be trekking the Zaleski Backpacking Trail in Zaleski State Forest, which is about an hour from Columbus. (Please reference the brochure in the "Files" section, under the "More" tab on the navigation bar above). This trail is great winter trail, as it is well-marked, well-established, offers only mild elevation change and has 2 loops. Depending on the weather, we will decide to hike the whole trail (23 miles) or just 1 of the loops (8-11 miles).
If you are a novice backpacker, and are looking to make a first trip…unfortunately I'd advise you to wait for the spring. This will be tough, and require some experienced skills. And frankly, if this was your first trip, you'd probably never set foot on a trail with a backpack again!
For those of you experienced backpackers who have never braved the winter trails, it is very important that you have the proper equipment and clothing. More information will follow regarding what minimum "stuff" you need. Keep an eye on the page, as we will be posting helpful articles.
We will be having a couple meetings before to nail down logistics and to answer any questions anyone might have. Please feel free to email me with any questions you might have now…I look forward to seeing my trail partners again, and to meet some of the new hikers I haven't yet walked with!
- El Cap