Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winter Learning

As you know, I attended one of the winter mountain workshops with the New Hampshire chapter of the AMC (in specific, I believe my class was called "intermediate winter wilderness travel" or something like that).

Left work early Friday and carpooled up with some other people who were attending from the Boston area. Had some classroom sessions and went out for some hikes with our groups on snowshoes, did a 2,900' or something the first day, and bushwhacked up to a smaller hill and over to an old cellar hole (where there used to be a house like a thousand years ago, probably less than that). We slept in a lodge in bunk beds. We ate a wooden tables in a dining hall with giant timber beams across the ceiling. Like probably 2' deep or something. Nothing like could be built now. I believe the lodge was built in the 20s or 30s, so there were still some big trees like that then. It was kind of paradise there. Got back Sunday evening and had a couple friends/family members over for a little birthday toast.

Things I learned (or did for the first time):
  • Learned the symptoms of hypothermia, what to do if something like that happens, what the biggest dangers or things to avoid are
  • Carry extra set of socks, dry long underwear, in your pack
  • Learned to read a compass/setting bearings
  • Bushwhacking (going off the trail, just through the woods, using your map and compass to get from point A to point B)
  • Saw where a moose had chewed the bark off of trees. The type of tree was called striped maple, I believe, but the nickname is moosewood, because they sure do love it. 
  • Saw snowshoe hare tracks
  • Broke trail (this is very fun, basically you are walking in the front of the group, on the fresh snow, and you may or may not be finding the way to go, depending if you are following a trail or bushwhacking)

Things I learned (or remembered) about myself:
  • I love being outside
  • I love being active
  • I love learning new skills
  • I am excited to be the first to do something
  • I like to notice things and try to figure out what is going on or what caused it to happen or be that way
  • I'm not cold when I'm moving
We were packing up to head home and somebody said "back to the real world" and to be honest I was a little bit bummed. The weekend really was spectacular. But then I wondered. Is where we were, in the forest, in the mountains among trees and snow and open sky, isn't that more the real world than almost anything? In a way, yes it is. It does remind you how fragile you are, as a creature, how much we need clothes, shelter, heating, insulation, things like that to keep us warm. That is pretty damn real. We kind of live in a bubble that we can take those things for granted.

In a way it was like a dream too, so so so beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful. So much fun. And there wasn't anything to worry about really, they fed us, told us what to do, taught us what we needed to know. Really the main thing to worry about is not dying, and you do worry about that, a tiny bit, but only from time to time.

Which is more real? I guess all of it is IT IS ALL REAL.


Bbear said...


Newt said...

Bubs I will hopefully post a couple pictures of the trip. Once I find my camera and the cord to get the pictures out of it.