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Backpacking in winter and being bored?
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/19/2012 22:10:04 MDT Print View

Winter is coming up here in a few months and I'm considering heading up to Yosemite to spend some time in the valley without the tourists.

The one issue I was thinking about was what to do with ALL the downtime.

The days are MUCH shorter and I'll have 5 hours of so of time in the tent / hammock,

What do you do to kill all the time? Hang out with friends? Get drunk? Smoke weed? Read? All the above?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/19/2012 22:21:53 MDT Print View

Bring friends! I have done some winter trips with loooooong nights by myself and it sucked. Got dark 5 at five and had several hours of downtime. I basically stared at the fire and ended up cooking a 5 course meal. Had lots of time to practice baking.
Anyways, I am trying to not go on winter trips by myself anymore. When you have people to talk to it's a lot better. Luckily I have some hiking buddies to go with now. And bring booze. Or weed if you like. That is nice to have on a long, dark night.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/19/2012 22:26:19 MDT Print View

Don't forget to throw some night hiking in there too. Get up when it is coldest and get moving. Sunrise breakfast on the trail.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/20/2012 00:23:41 MDT Print View

The easiest way to avoid being bored is have friends. You can talk, play card or board games, etc.

With long running LED headlamps reading / journalling works for some... others get tired or reading quickly

Go when the moon is going to be full. There is nothing quite a pretty as a hike in the snow when the moon is bright

Paul Mountford
(Sparticus) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic Canada
Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/20/2012 01:51:16 MDT Print View

Bring an Ice Box ( and build an igloo to sleep in. That will kill time and give you a cosy shelter to sleep in.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/20/2012 03:16:29 MDT Print View

How many hours of dark are you planning on having? If you are seriously traveling, then you want to use all available daylight for traveling. Cooking, eating, and breaking camp all happen in the dark (take a good headlamp). That means:

*) Make camp as late in the daylight as you can -- it should be dark when you are done -- any sooner and you have wasted precious daylight. It's not hard to imagine supper taking a couple of hours by the time you melt snow for water, cook supper, and enjoy supper with friends.

*) Wake up a couple of hours before daylight -- it's not hard to imagine most people taking a couple of hours to cook in the dark, eat breakfast, and get their packs packed for traveling by daybreak.

*) That means you have approximately (dark hours - 4) for sleeping. Is that really too much time for sleeping if your day was pretty strenuous? Perhaps in the Arctic or parts of Alaska, but not over most of CONUS.

That does assume you are in good enough shape to enjoy strenuous traveling for (daylight hours) per day.

Edited by blean on 08/20/2012 03:20:41 MDT.

Tyler Johnson
(riemannia) - F

Locale: Northeast Georgia
Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/20/2012 09:37:12 MDT Print View

As others have suggested, I prefer night hiking with a good head lamp until normal sleeping hours in the winter and waking up before dawn to continue, though I'm much more comfortable doing so with a companion than alone.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
snowballs on 08/20/2012 10:25:18 MDT Print View

perfect yr snowman building skills .... throw snow balls at polar bears ...

seriously ... try building and igloo or snow cave .... thatll take care of it ...

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/20/2012 10:32:25 MDT Print View

I guess the real question here is ...
"if it bores you why do you do it ?"

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/20/2012 14:00:18 MDT Print View

I'm mostly solo year 'round. Bring a book, stomp around camp, get to know your immediate area.

(jpovs) - F - M

Locale: North Shore
Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/20/2012 15:29:48 MDT Print View

I bring whiskey, lots of wood for a big fire, my best four legged friend, good cuts of meat to grill up on the fire, and a cell phone for checking out BPL. Having a fire gives me something to maintain all night. After the whiskey is almost gone I go for a short hike. The snow helps absorb the falls.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/21/2012 12:21:05 MDT Print View

Bring a good book

Bring a musical instrument

Have a campfire and stare into the flames

Bring a deck of cards

Get really caught up on sleep and maybe even cultivate a surplus

Bring one or more friends

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Sleep... on 08/22/2012 12:38:43 MDT Print View

"Get really caught up on sleep and maybe even cultivate a surplus"

That is what I do.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/22/2012 14:05:31 MDT Print View

It is usually wet as well as cold, so I'm in bed after dinner or sundown and read or listen to the radio.

Of it isn't raining and the site has an established fire ring, a campfire is a treat.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Backpacking in winter and being bored? on 08/22/2012 14:34:51 MDT Print View

My wife brings her knitting to long medical conferences.

I bring technical journals one way. That is to say once I've read them, I toss them (or maybe tear out a few of the best articles. That way I clear 20 pounds of magazines off my nightstand and come home hopefully smarter and 20 pounds lighter.

Bring extra batteries for your headlamp and X-C skiis if there's snow. If there's not snow in the Valley, hike before and after the daylight - you can't get lost on those trails in the valley.

If it's another dry winter, get an early start on the JMT to LYV or the Yosemite Falls trail to the rim. You often have to take the "horse trail" option instead of the mist trail due to frozen spray on the steps. Skip the 4-mile trail to Glacier Point as it is steep, totally in the shade in winter, therefore can be icy.

Tipi Walter
(TipiWalter) - F
Boredom on 08/25/2012 16:03:59 MDT Print View

Bring whiskey? Not my idea of a solution to boredom.
** As someone said, bring books and burn them thru the trip. The only time I really get in-depth reading done is when I'm out on a trip.

** Keep a journal and describe your location, the gear you are using, your shelter, the differences between dayhikers vs backpackers, the weather, and the all-important grappling with the elusive Turtlehead (toilet duty).

** Take a little radio with headphones.

(jpovs) - F - M

Locale: North Shore
Re: Boredom on 08/25/2012 16:29:40 MDT Print View

Tipi, it's not my idea to solve boredom. It's a way of making it more fun. I've gone plenty of nights without alcohol and a fire in the winter. With the long winters in Minnesota if all I did was drink to combat the cold I would be an alcoholic. If it ever got boring I would stop going. To each his own.

Edited by jpovs on 08/25/2012 16:31:57 MDT.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
boredom at camp on 08/25/2012 22:27:02 MDT Print View

After I eat and setup camp, watch sunset, if I do or don't have a trail friend, it gets dark, bugs bite, so I turn in to bed around 730PM. Usually tired. Next morning I wake up at 4am to photograph sunrise.

At home I have insomnia, on the trail camp I sleep well, but I do wake up every few hours.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: boredom at camp on 08/26/2012 05:00:38 MDT Print View

I sit around my Bush Buddy and paint with watercolors. If you have never painted in the dark, it's really fun. You have no clue what colors you're using so it's always a surprise to me what I created in the morning's light. If I don't like it, I use it to light the BB for breakfast.
I catch up on enjoy the stars.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
been there on 08/27/2012 10:11:39 MDT Print View

i was out this past winter on a moonless night and found myself bored at 8pm. there was no way i was going to fall asleep before 10pm so i decided to take a walk in the dark. that took 3 hours. it was amazing.