Autumn, Meet Winter

It seems hard to believe, after a week that included 70 degree days, that last weekend we backpacked in winter. It was a little hard to believe at the time really.

(2 above photos of fall foliage in the mountains, earlier this month. How fast the season changes.)

We started Friday morning in fall, spent the night by a lake in icy winter, and returned down the mountain the next day to the warmth and color of fall once more.

cold weather comin'

Before leaving home we knew the weekend would be chilly, but thought two nights on the mountain were doable. We packed warm gear and started the trail Friday morning in high spirits. 

We hit a light snowfall almost immediately and the higher we hiked the chillier it got. The snow was never deep but the temperature stayed belowing freezing the whole time. 

That night, while huddled together all warm in the tent, we decided to return down the mountain the next day. There was rain in the forecast for Sunday and we thought it not wise to hike down all that ice and snow (without crampons and the gear) with the chance of rain. 

(Following photos were taken on Saturday. The trip back down was simply gorgeous.)

The shortness of the trip made it all the sweeter. We probably only hiked 10 hours altogether and spent the other 18 hours snuggled in the tent, making quick dashes out to use the composting toilet and nearby woods to "relieve" ourselves.

When we got back down we found fall once again, right where we left it. There are few leaves remaining on the trees in the colder mountains and it was so nice to return home to the colorful maples and kale still growing green in our backyard.

Being reminded about what's coming next I'm intent on enjoying these last few weeks of beautiful autumn.


Damien has published more of the details of our trip at AdPro. Check out the link if you want to see a short video with me all cozy in my sleeping bag.

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

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  • Kyce

    Kyce on Oct. 31, 2010, 7:02 p.m.

    Oh so beautiful. There was a time in my life when we'd ski into the winter forest with the heaviest packs imaginable (for some reason we always brought cast iron skillets...) and spend a week or so living in quinzhees. This brought me back. Beautiful, magical photos that encourage me to hold the vision of a wilderness loving family.


    • renee

      renee on Nov. 1, 2010, 12:31 a.m.

      Kyce, Cast iron? Really??

      Damien is a light weight gear geek and since he's the one who introduced me to the backwoods that's all I've ever known. Now that he has started writing articles & product reviews (at we are getting to test some really useful light weight gear that is helping our family get outdoors even more.

      Our dream for outdoor winter activity is to ski into the back country and snowboard the untouched mountains. You can get splitboards they are called. They become wide skies or "clip" together to become a snowboard. Now that will be rockin'. Can't wait.

      Do hold the vision of a wilderness loving family. I am SO satisfied with family life in nature. I wish I had much, much more time to write about that because it is becoming more important to me. But then there's the homemaking, homeschooling, crafting, gardening... The rich tapestry of life. It's wonderful.


  • Rana

    Rana on Nov. 1, 2010, 2:12 a.m.

    Those photos were beautiful. I love the snow on the branches. I'm enjoying fall, but I'm also looking forward to winter and the snow.


  • Claudia

    Claudia on Nov. 1, 2010, 10:07 a.m.

    Lovely post, Renee. We had our first taste of winter here yesterday. Nothing like trick or treating in the snow! :)


  • exhale. return to center.

    exhale. return to center. on Nov. 1, 2010, 8:46 p.m.

    i am SO inspired by you and your family renee!!

    for the past 6 or so weeks we have been taking our kids hiking every weekend at a nearby nature preserve. we're usually only in the woods for about an hour -- but still it has been a HUGE shift for our family.

    i feel like we have finally found an activity that everyone in our family can simultaneously enjoy together!!! :-)


  • Jill Foley

    Jill Foley on Nov. 3, 2010, 2:44 p.m.

    Beautiful pictures. It looks like it was a fun trip. I thought of you Monday as we hiked through the Redwoods National Forest...we felt like ants next to those magnificent trees!


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