Winter Wonderland Trip

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).  

http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/forests/zaleski/tabid/5171/Default.aspx

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!  

Regards!

- El Cap

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  • Erik

    Good times! I learned a lot about winter hiking. Met some awesome folks!
    Check out the massive photo album I uploaded.

    February 6, 2014

  • Petra

    Just looked at your photos Kai. Thank you so very much for taking and then posting them.

    February 3, 2014

  • Mary

    The link to the Special Olympics fundraiser I mentioned: http://sooh.kintera.org/geneva2014/maryfeldkamp

    February 3, 2014

    • Petra

      Thanks for the website and thank you for taking the plunge! My aunt swam in the Special Olympics for years.

      February 3, 2014

  • Mary

    I'm so happy to have met some really nice ladies and gents as well as trod another path with some buds from the last trip. I had a great time and I hope we get together again sometime soon!

    February 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was able to barely do a day and a half. The Wanderers are a fabulous bunch if guys and gals. I was very much impressed with the kindness and athleticism of these people. As it was mentioned earlier, if you're not a novice, get an understanding of the terrain, ask questions, understand your equipment and know your limits. All of these I fell short but learned at the same time. Darwin is a true friend which I shall NEVER forget. El Cap, great leader keep it up. I'll learn from this and return. Keep those trekking those paths, bro!! Be well all

    1 · February 2, 2014

    • Nick!

      Rodney, thank you for sharing your homemade wine with us (that was some of the best wine I've ever tasted) and thanks for driving us to the next trailhead. It was an honor to share the trail with you and I hope we'll see you again soon.

      1 · February 3, 2014

  • William A. W.

    Hiked this trail before, but always a good time. Great group of folks. Nice to meet new people and share the trail. Looking forward to the next trip!

    February 2, 2014

  • Kathy W.

    Sorry for the late notice but I'm not going to be able to make it this weekend. Have a great trip and stay warm! Plan another trip soon.

    January 30, 2014

  • Michael K.

    All right, Wanderers...trip time! We've had a couple cancellations, but still looks like we'll have a pretty big group heading to Zaleski. Food is purchased & packed...expect to carry 1-2lbs each. A couple last minute things:
    - The food/trip cost for the weekend is $15/person. Please bring cash if you can. - If you are a passenger in someone's vehicle, please kick in on gas for the drivers.
    - Please have copies of your license & medical insurance cards (I don't expect any catastrophes, but just in case!)
    - please print your own copy of the zaleski map
    - The weather looks like it's gonna throw us some curveballs. Friday looks nice, sat looks like sleet/rain (but 40's)-pack your rain gear!-& Sunday looks like a beautiful sunny day with high 30's.
    - plan on a post-hike dinner before we head back to Medina. Bill had a couple great recommendations...we'll decide at the trailhead.
    - if you haven't already, please let me know if you'll be meeting in Medina, at the trailhead, or at camp. Thanks to you

    January 30, 2014

    • Maggie K.

      Best of luck hikers! I look forward to pictures.

      January 30, 2014

    • Erik

      Meet you at Medina Antiques Mall pretty close to 8:30!

      January 30, 2014

  • Kai G.

    FYI I've added a zip file to the Files section with four overlapping blowups of the Zaleski map, to make the contour lines readable.

    1 · January 30, 2014

  • William A. W.

    Michael,

    Well, I've spoken to Kathy and her, atom, and I will be hiking in later. We plan on getting to the trailhead no later than 5 pm and will meet everyone at camp C. If you'd like us to hike in food, please contact me and I can pick it up beforehand. Bill

    1 · January 29, 2014

    • Michael K.

      Thanks, Bill. We'll plan on seeing you at camp in the evening. As far as food goes, we'll hike it in on Friday & then split the weight up on Saturday...no worries. We'll have dinner for the 3 of you when you roll in. Safe travels.

      January 30, 2014

  • Mark

    I hate to change my RSVP, but I've got an injury that didn't go away quickly enough. Would love to still go if someone will volunteer to carry my pack. Ha ha. Have fun! I'll catch you all on the next one.

    January 29, 2014

  • William A. W.

    Michael,

    I just need to know if we are hiking in late or not. Kai's option is too late for us. My brother and I can meet in Medina that morning or we are still willing to hike in those that aren't comfortable, but I'd like to begin hiking no later than 6 pm that night.

    Other than that, I will be hiking in my MSR stove with a large bottle of fuel, plus my alcohol stove. We will hike in community food, but my brother and I like to dehydrate our own meals, so we will probably do that. If we are hiking in late, then we need to make arrangements on the food beforehand. You have my cell, so just let me know.

    Bill

    January 22, 2014

    • Michael K.

      Bill…understood. Looks like Kai and Kathy are the only ones I've heard from that are heading in later. Kathy had mentioned carpooling with her…but you'll have to contact her to figure out a game plan. Let me know what you guys decide and we'll either see you in Medina or at camp.

      January 27, 2014

  • Vicki

    hi gang, so sorry I cannot make this trip, huge work commitment. But it certainly seems like a big group is going...u can all keep each other warm. Have fun...catch u on the next one!

    January 25, 2014

    • Michael K.

      We'll certainly miss you, Vicki! Can't wait to see you at the next one :)

      January 27, 2014

  • Kathy W.

    I need to work at least a partial day on Friday. I would like to carpool with either Bill or Kai. What time were you going to leave Bill?

    January 27, 2014

  • Mark

    I'm coming from Columbus so I will be meeting everyone at the trailhead. If anyone else is from Columbus and wants to carpool, let me know.

    January 22, 2014

  • Kai G.

    FYI all: I'll be leaving from downtown Cleveland 6pm Fri.; can take 2 others. I expect to be at the trailhead 9:30-10pm; if you're also arriving late and want to hike in together let me know, otherwise I won't wait. I expect to make camp about 10-11pm.

    January 22, 2014

  • Michael K.

    *****PLEASE READ!!!!***** See file "Winter Wonderland '14 Notes" in "Files" drop-down under the "More" navigation bar at the top of this screen. Important notes for the trip. Let me know if you can't find it, I can email a copy directly to you. Thanks!

    January 21, 2014

    • Darwin M.

      Read it. Heather and I each have stoves and water purification. I can drive 4-5 comfortably and 6 max. There should also be room in the truck for an extra pack or two if another carpool needs the space. I'll be sure to buy some clif bars. Let me know if you need help with the food or any other logistics you're putting together. I'm just up the road if you need another pair of hands for an evening.

      January 22, 2014

  • Damon

    Zaleski is a great area! I'd like to make a few of these trips!

    January 17, 2014

    • Darwin M.

      I don;t know who you are, but you're beautiful...

      January 15, 2014

    • Maggie K.

      Nice creepy comment, Dar. But I'm takin' the compliment!! Hope you don't get frostbit on your winky.

      2 · January 15, 2014

  • William A. W.

    Oh, one final thought, we generally like to hike out and grab a bite to eat. There is a Rocky Boots outlet store in town (about 20 min from the trailhead), that offers bison burgers (among many other choices, including salads), so if anyone would like to join us after the hike for a warm meal, please do so...

    January 12, 2014

  • William A. W.

    Two things:

    First, I know I haven't met anyone yet, but if there is someone who would like to carpool to and from, let me know. We'll be taking my brother's Jeep and if Kathy Warner joins us (we've backpacked with her before and she's on this trip), then we have room for one more to join us.

    Second, I have lots of extra gear, so if you're a newbie and need to borrow a tent, sleeping pad, or need to piggy back off of my stove or water treatment (although Zaleski has cisterns), let me know and I'll try to accommodate.

    Looking forward to meeting new people on the trail.

    Bill

    January 12, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looking forward to the expedition this winter. I have not been in this long of a hike before but have done a lot if winter camping/survival in the past

    December 29, 2013

  • Maggie K.

    Good article on staying warm in your tent.

    1 · December 23, 2013

  • Petra

    OK, I have been looking and reading and even visiting a store, Backpackers, to figure out which sleeping bag would be best for me. I am so confused! Please, for all of those very experienced backpackers, would it be possible for you help me some more! The overall advice I read is to TRY the different bags out. Where am I to find these bags??? There doesn't appear to be any where around Cleveland that I can go. I'll try out Appalachian Outfitters soon, but if anyone has any other ideas, please let me know.

    Thanks!!

    December 11, 2013

    • Shelly D.

      Forget running around to stores. Try websites like REI.com & backcountryedge.com to start. Also Amazon. That way you can read reviews (very helpful) and price compare. I would definitely go with down.

      December 12, 2013

  • Michael K.

    “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity...” -John Muir

    1 · December 8, 2013

    • Petra

      That explains the cottage industry up north of Toronto. I thank God that my families place is no where near civilization.

      December 9, 2013

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