How to Have a Great Time

Don’t think I’m crazy because I love to get out and see the beautiful world around me during the winter. Yes, it is colder and sometimes snowing but it doesn’t have to be that way. Going in the winter is a unique experience and yes, it is possible to have a great time if you treat yourself to a few days in the cold.

Why wait for “the last second” when you can have the best of both worlds. The last second is usually the worst of all times. You don’t want to rush out and get caught in bad weather but you also don’t want to be stuck in a slow traffic jam with hundreds of other people. Or do you?

If you rush out you may find yourself stranded in a place where everyone else is gone or just plain stuck. Well that depends on where you rush to. Sometimes being stuck is your idea of a good time. Let’s face it, there are only two of you and there might be hundreds of people on the road to your supposed destination. Sounds synonymous to our situation.

Let’s see if we can avoid that dreaded outcome.

Since we have been on the road we’ve gone camping, have gone backpacking, enjoyed a couple of mountain bike trips, whitewater rafting and even a road tripping. I even tearyeyed with my son at one point during a long bout with Tourettes. But wow, that was a hideously personal experience! Still, no second guessing – we got absolutely filthy that day. No matter what your idea of a good time is, I’m sure neither of us were in the “good” camp.

Skip the virgin wilderness areas. If you are going to be camping or backpacking in a place wherecreation is visible, then you already have a good idea what you may need to take. We definitely would not go camping or backpacking without a tent. Yet, if you’re staying in a hotel, you have the luxury of being able to ask your cleaner to vacuum and sweep it all away, so the fresh bread aroma that lingers for days is something you’ll be able to smell from just about anywhere.

2. Be a cheapskate. You don’t have to spend some $4,000 on a high-tech down bag. Breath into one of those and spit it out. You can get a $20.00 sleeping bag off someone who won’t mind sleeping on it. Not to mention the fact that it makes for a good cover-up once the ground gets a little too blanket.

3. Bring only what you need. Lightweight is overrated. If you’re going to be carrying everything, take only what you can fit into a backpack. Personally, after a heavy day of hiking, my backpack always ends up lighter. Everyone’s bodyodor is due to sweating.

4. Forgo the convenience of the car. A computer or cell phone doesn’t have to be in the car. Personally, I like to use the trail to get to my destination. I also have a GPS set up so I can map out the trail. A cell phone is a waste of space.

5. Go with someone who has experience. Unless you’re lost, you can always use the trail to find your way. With a wife and kids, it’s easy to pick up.

6. Keep an eye on your gear. Take it out of the stuff sacks and leave it on the trail. Take your rain gear off and put it in a ziplock bag. You need somewhere to dry those things. Make sure you have a fire ring and cooking gear near your camp. Also, make sure you have a clear path to the camp fire.

7. If you need extra water, poach it from the streams. The water won’t be far away.

8. Use lesser known than you think. Spend a weekend with some locals. Learn a bit of their language. You don’t want to forget potable aqua tablets, tooth powder, or deodorant.

9. Forgo the refrigerator. Semi-comfy eating and drinking is good until you need to wash again.

10. Bring a first aid kit. You never know when you’ll need one.

11. Go backpacking. See if you can find a job.