Not all that long ago, if you had suggested I go camping in the snow I would have laughed at you. Then the snow started falling early in our snow season, the bookings started rolling in and it looked like TSA would need more than two guides on their Mt Stirling snow hikes. So I offered my time, as this would be a great opportunity for me to learn from a couple of our best, most experienced guides. Someone in the office even suggested that I shouldn’t worry because they would do most of the heavy carrying 🙂 As the weekend loomed closer, my emotions went between excited and terrified; “What have I done”?
I have been guiding tours for many years including four years of camping tours but they were all large coach tours and all I needed to do at night was roll out my swag and get in. It has been quite some time since I have carried everything I need for a night away. As it turned out, it was a great weekend and I did learn a lot and I want to share with you some of those things…
The suggested pack list is a great place to start when packing. Everything you need is on that list and there is really no need to bring extra – remember you will be carrying it and you will also be asked to carry some of the food for the weekend.
If you don’t have the equipment, TSA can loan you a rucksack, sleeping mat, and a tent. This is such a good way to gain experience without the extra expense and then if you do want to purchase these items for future trips, you have an idea of what works well for you. It may be a good idea not to take that huge and heavy pack your partner offers you because it has everything you need (mine was soooooooooooooo heavy)
Snowshoes alter your gait and can be really challenging to walk distances in, however one foot in front of the other will get you there. Also, walking backwards can be particularly precarious.:) (just ask Adrian)
It’s a really good idea to close the valve on your self-inflating mat to help buffer you from the cold snow underneath whilst sleeping – I forgot to close mine and wondered why it wasn’t comfortable and was cold.
As always with walking, don’t grab the old boots out of the cupboard, or think that it’s a good time to test out new ones, as your footwear is key to a comfortable walking experience. I knew my boots were possibly a little too small – going uphill was fine but coming back down was excruciating.
Clothing layers are very important – hiking uphill many of us were boiling inside but cooled down quickly when we had a break. A great saying goes something like “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices” and this equally applies to when you change your layers.
And…speaking of weather, so many times we hear the weather report before our weekend adventures and if the forecast is for rain or other inclement weather, we get many cancellations. Often these weekends turn out to be some of the very best experiences!
I hope to see you on a trail somewhere soon and let’s have some fun.