Blog post: A Memory of a Winter Without Snow

Chris on Slide Mountain
Average read time 2 min

So we are into spring. Looking back on this past winter all I can think of is “blah”. It’s somewhat rare in the Catskills that we don’t get much snow. Not only is it rare, but it’s disappointing for those of us who thrive on back-country activities that require it. I guess chalk one up for climate change. But the Catskills is not the only wintry place impacted. But really, who am I to complain as we had over 100 inches of it last year here in the northwest Catskills!

Hiking in the winter without the white stuff, simply put, is not “wintry”. I don’t ever take a day in the backwoods for granted, but in winter, snow completes the experience. Sorry, microspikes just don’t cut it! Donning your snowshoes, skis or crampons and pushing through deep snow and hard ice is what it’s about. The feel of my ice axe in hand on the steeps makes it that much better! Hiking in sub freezing temps with snow falling is what winter hiking should be, it’s not what we had this year.

In winter’s depth, we experience a beauty that happens at no other time of the year. The calmness and purity of a freshly fallen snow to the awesome power of a good old nor-easter will do just fine to light up your senses. Winter also gives the deep appreciation for the warmer more gentle seasons.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. ― Anne Bradstreet

So, it was a blah winter. I’m done complaining, thanks for listening.

I am grateful we got out a few times with some snow. Below is one of my favorite photos from this past winter on a snowy day out bushwhacking on Slide Mountain. We bushwhacked the NW ridge with temperatures about 10 degrees. The ledge climbing in gorgeous snowfall was simply awe-inspiring. Being off-trail made it that much better. All in all a great day in the park.

I wonder how much Burroughs got out on days like this? I wonder if he had winters “without” snow?

Did you get out this winter? If so, share your experience with a comment!

Chris at the Slide Mountain Trailhead
Chris at the Slide Mountain Trailhead on a Rare Snowy Day 2015