Winter in the Shawnee
Winter has come to the Shawnee. Last summer is a distant memory, and the next is just as far away. Skies are grey, bluebird days infrequent. Snow cover makes things prettier, but it’s rare. Swimmin’ holes are of little use when it’s cold. And the days are so short, and nothing seems to dry up. No wonder we call winter “mud season.” So what good is it? Turns out, plenty.
The memory of last summer’s campfires is usually enough to keep us warm through most of the fall. But now that winter is here, and it’s the anticipation of next summer that fuels us to press on. Exploring Camp in winter is filled with fond memories of things past and the eagerness of what next summer has in store.
The thick, ominous jungle of summer opens up, exposing the next bend and urging you to explore deeper. That distant ridge doesn’t seem so far when you can see it through the trees. And the roar of the waterfall at the end of the canyon can be heard well before it’s seen.
While snow seldom covers the ground, the seemingly barren forest floor is teeming with spring’s life waiting to pop. The drab colors of the Shawnee make wildlife easier to spot foraging for a winter snack. But you won’t be bothered by the plants and critters that make us itchy in summer.
Yes, winter is cold. But most days are mild enough that simply walking warms you without the humidity of summer. Hitting the trail in the morning may have a bite to it, but you’ll shed a layer by lunch. As the old saying goes, “start cold.”
It’s not so bad that nothing dries up. With the cool days and freezing nights, the canyons adorn themselves in beautiful frozen draperies of icicles. And longer cold spells can turn waterfalls into columns of ice.
It turns out, winter hiking is a tranquil experience amidst the slumbering forest. Altered perspectives yield new appreciation and a better understanding of familiar places. It’s been said that Camp needs a break, a time to rest. The forest can do the same for us. Take a break and come hiking at Camp soon!
By Greg Santen, Guest Services Director