Icy Intrigue…


Baby, it’s cold outside!

The air is crisp, the mud is frozen, and the views are staggering.

As the temperatures outside dip below freezing, all of nature responds.  Some organisms perish; some become inactive, hibernate or migrate.

Still others are sent searching for the food which can become scarce in these extremes…. sometimes resulting in surprise encounters worth getting outside for!

Snakes are not lurking between the rocks…. bears are not wandering through the brush…. but tracks in the snow reveal the paths of critters who are active….

The bird population dwindles …. along with the insects they feed on.  Which can mean a pleasant reprieve from mosquitoes, gnats, chiggers and ticks in areas where warmer weather can make being outside uncomfortable.

Leaves have dropped from trees and bushes opening up amazing views.  And since any mud gets frozen overnight…. the ground cracks and crunches firmly under foot.

Layers of clothing, coupled with the warmth of activity can make even a crisp day feel toasty.  This is no time to stay inside!

Looking for an excuse to enjoy being outside?

Take a hike, hunt for a geocache, find a new place to explore.

Wear layers, warm socks, good traction boots gloves, and a hat… grab a hiking pole…. take a walk.

The trails are quiet this time of year….  and you’ll probably have the whole place to yourself!

Intrigued? …. Let’s go!

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Weather or not…

Weather can sometimes make or break a vacation. Typically the limiting factor is the timing and number of days at our disposal, so the only control we have is where we arrange to be and the flexibility of our activities. Assuming that it is still possible and safe to travel to our destination, we need to be prepared for whatever mother nature chooses to serve up.  The hard part is being prepared to not just endure the conditions…. but also enjoy our stay.

Rain suits, long johns, hats and gloves are standard items in our packing list.  The longer the trip and the farther we are going, the more possibilities we have to anticipate and prepare for. Layers are usually the key and we have seen some cold nights where we have had to wear nearly every layer we brought!  Of course if the problem is that it is 105 degrees in the shade, the solution is more in timing than layers. An early alarm and sunrise outing is easier to take when you know the afternoon is free for a siesta.

One thing I have discovered over the years is that being stretched beyond my comfort zone…. even being uncomfortable at times…  can make for the most memorable of adventures.

Racing a snow storm across 30 miles of dirt road, descending into the Grand Canyon through a dense fog and slopping through ankle-deep mud wasn’t what we imagined when we planned our Spring Break backpacking trip a few years ago, but that week is indelible in my memory.  We went back the next year and managed to complete the route as originally planned … in perfect weather.

Getting snowed in 50 miles from our destination made us a day late checking into our accommodations another year, but the experience was certainly unique.  As we broke tracks through the snow along the road we kept reminding ourselves that the worse case scenario would be that we stopped and climbed into sleeping bags in the back of our truck to weather the night.  We managed to get to a town where we found a room and a hot meal.

Rain in Sedona can change hiking plans… but open up amazing scenes as the water spills from pour-offs on red rock walls all around and fills usually dry creek beds.  If I let disappointment over disrupted plans leave me reluctant to look for other options… I can miss unanticipated opportunities.

The benefits of retirement have opened up so many new options for us as we face the unpredictable weather in our travels.  Usually we can leave our destination flexible as well as the amount of time we choose to stay wherever we are…. a little chilly? … head south for a day or two.  Storm making travel hazardous? Stay put, no need to take unnecessary risks.  Rainy day… good time to lounge in bed awhile longer, visit some galleries, go to a movie, take another class, or catch up on the blog I’ve been avoiding … 🙂

Weather, our not…… Let’s go!