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Why Go Winter Camping?

Compared to three-season experiences there are valid reasons why people may not want to go winter camping:

Conditions may not be favorable to consistent comfort
Snow may slow your travel and can make route-finding difficult
Nights can seem long
There is more preparation necessary
More gear may be necessary and the margin of error is less.

However, a winter landscape offers campers solitude, inspiration, natural quiet, a place to get away.  Winter camping can provide a haven from the pressures of our fast-paced, industrialized society, providing a place where one can seek relief from the noise, haste, and crowds.

Winter camping has several advantages over summer camping:

You can reach areas that are too wet or overgrown during other seasons.  In fact, these are often ideal destinations for winter camping.
Snow covers rocks, roots and uneven ground under your tent.
Hikes can easily cross frozen lakes and ponds to directly access locations that might require lengthy hikes during other seasons.
The clear and open view is unparalleled.  Deciduous trees shed their leaves and provide unobstructed vistas.
Clear night skies offer a great star grazing opportunities for amateur astronomers.
Winter camping provides solitude and a feeling of exploration; even heavily traveled trails can seem like virgin territory when covered by a fresh blanket of snow.
One can justify eating excessive amounts of snacks and chocolate for energy.
Night time sounds carry easily enhancing an audio landscape of coyotes, owls, trees snapping and ice cracking.
Winter camping provides a different perspective  into nature than offered during the other three seasons.
Camping in the winter inspires a feeling of independence and gives people confidence in their survival skills.
There is a satisfaction in learning new skills or enhancing/extending your current outdoor skills.
There is little competition from other campers.  Camping sites that are overly popular during summer months are rarely visited or usually only visited by day hikers.
One gets to practice snow shoeing and XC skiing skills.
The skills one gains from winter camping (e.g. dressing properly, recognizing signs of hypothermia) can make one deal more comfortably with winter conditions encountered during regular life.
There are no mosquitoes or bears.

I have read that the Boy Scouts regard winter camping as a quarter system: 25% hate it, 50% are ambivalent about it, and 25% love it.  Winter camping is an activity that requires planning and preparation, physical stamina, the right equipment, an adventuresome spirit and a positive mental attitude.  With the correct mix of these attributes we hope you are in the last quadrant.

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