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….it’ll be fun they said…

It was -16 degrees, -32 degrees with the windchill when I woke up this morning. One of the things I’ve come to love about Minnesotans is their fondness for talking about the weather. I’ve also noticed that there are definitely two camps on windchill…believers and non-believers. I BELIEVE IN WINDCHILL. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I always factor in windchill, or the “feels like” temperature…because I am a human being that feels things, and would like keep feeling things, especially my face, fingers and toes!

Re-visitng my journey towards learning to love winter and rounding up some of my best winter posts was a fun to do over a hot cup of coffee on this cold morning. I hope these stories inspire you to keep venturing outside without worrying about freezing your buns off.

I didn’t start out loving winter…

I was born and raised in Southern California…camping with my family in baja, fighting off sunburns and swimming in the ocean. We occasionally got to drive to the mountains to see a bit of snow, but surviving the cold was not a skill I learned until I was transplanted to the Northern Minnesota tundra as a teenager. Adjusting to life in a drafty old farmhouse, taught me that winter was nothing to fool around with and that keeping the wood stove full was a matter of life and death. I spent the next 20 years trying to rush through winter and going outside as little as possible.

Then we had kids…

Children have a way of making you do things you don’t want to do. Our boys wanted to play in the snow, sled down the hill, roll around like happy pandas and and even eat the stuff! They loved it! My husband was even less of a fan of winter than I was at the time, so I tried…I met their basic parental supervision needs, even had fun a few times, but wouldn’t say I loved it. Now that they are grown, I wish I had been less of a party pooper.

Slaying a 3ft Ice Dam

Just embrace it, they said…

Then the winter of 2010 arrived… our boys were 7 and 10, and had mastered the art of snow fort construction. They would stay outside all day, I’d throw their wet clothes in the dryer over lunch…and they would head back out again! On December 12th, we had so much snow that the roof of the Metrodome collapsed and shortly after, we had so much snow on our own roof that ice dams formed and water was pouring into our kitchen.

You don’t have to love the cold to love winter…

Something clicked into place that year (despite all of the destruction) and I finally embraced old man winter! I learned how to fake it til ya make it, and that deciding to go outside is harder than actually doing it. I also learned how to rake the roof, tried cross country skiing and snowshoeing for the first time, watched ski and fat tire bike races and learned how to properly dress for the cold at winter Scout Camp. I fixed up old skis found on curbs and craigslist, and dove in head first, eager to learn all I could about winter and “embracing it”. 2010 is still one of the fondest winters of my life: plentiful snow, a heart full of memories and a bunch of fun new things to do outside!

Winter post round-up! Lets go!

I have written many posts about what I’ve learned about winter over the years, ranging from: gear and hacks, activities, camping successes and failures, my love for snowshoeing, and how to “just embrace it!” There’s even a dedicated WINTER category in the SKILLS tab on the top of this page. Here are a few of my faves in case you missed ’em first time around.

Stay toasty!

Thanks for reading and I hope you are enjoying Winter. Looking for more winter posts including trip reports and gear reviews? There’s plenty more in the “LETS GO!” and “SKILLS” tabs on the top of this page. If you want to stay up to date on what I’m up to this winter, and adventures planned this year, be sure to hit the subscribe button and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

What’s your favorite thing about winter? Got a gear hack or favorite activity that makes it more enjoyable? Indoor activities are cool too, this is a great time for trip planning and resetting. I’d love to hear about it. Drop me a note in the comments, or continue the conversation on the Wandering Pine Facebook page.

Happy Trails!

~WP

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