A few weeks ago, I went winter camping for the first time. And really... I'll just go ahead and say I went camping for the first time. Because the last time I slept in a tent was about twenty years ago. And the only parts I remember are finding a deer antler in the woods and burning sticks in the fire at night.
So first things first, Minnesota is really cold in the winter typically. And this weekend was super duper chilly. I think our low may have been around -7. Fahrenheit. We were in Silver Bay. There wasn't very much snow, but it was icy and that fresh, crisp winter smell was amazing. I think before I start to write too much, I should mention that I'm real woodsy; an avid hiker and nature adventurer. And the man who took me out to the forest (who shall be known as Jon) is a very experienced winter camper. We knew what to expect and had gear to handle the elements. If this sounds fun to you, don't just run away to the wild. You'll freeze. No one wants that.
I do this free-writing thing sometimes. This is what I do: I get high and write in my journal. Below I give you my thoughts and reflections on braving the cold to play and sleep outside.
It was extremely spectacular.
For the first time in years I experienced what I can only describe as "real quiet". Not silence, but a comforting, gentle stillness. Trees swaying, water moving and soft breathing. There is a solitude in this quiet that makes you feel very...human. Connected to the ground and the air and the world. This. This feeling is what people seek in so many various ways. And it was found simply and without effort in the cold, in the woods.
Temperature. It was much colder than I had imagined. The bottom sort of fell out and our high for that weekend was maybe 15 degrees. But when the sun goes down, the temps drop very fast. When you are fully immersed in the chill, and have proper clothing, it feels invigorating. Something I noticed after I returned home was that the frigid air really keeps you in the moment. You tend to focus on what is going on instead of random shit. That is superb for your brain and makes anyone feel lighter. On that same note, you soon begin to appreciate the times when you can stop moving without freezing. Time in the tent, zipped up in a sleeping bag, feeling the the coziest wild animal in the world. Those things being said, when I woke up in the morning and got up to check out the sunrise, I think I actually asked Jon to chop off my toes because they were surely dead. Then we ran around and everything was fine.
As a sun lover and star gazer, nature worshiper and wilderness explorer... I have no idea how this was my first time camping. It was easy and simple and just the thing my heart has needed. Since this late-November trip I have camped again, even further north, and am excited to share that adventure soon. If you feel the great outdoors tugging at your soul but are a little unsure about sleeping outside- with animals and dirt and no bathrooms -don't be afraid. Make up your mind to be slightly uncomfortable and then go play. Your spirit will soar.