“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says 'Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.'”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland;
Through the Looking-Glass
Through the Looking-Glass
Though winter doesn't officially start until December 21st each year, each year is the same for me. I start looking forward to the first snowfall sometime around August when southeastern Pennsylvania sits under a blanket of humidity. Perhaps even before then. Winter is the season of hot cocoa, crackling fires in fireplaces, sleds, snow day schemes and a variety of other things that make it the best of the four seasons. Sure, spring is the season of new life, growth, and warmer temperatures. Summer is the season of backyard barbecues, baseball, lazy long weekends and air conditioning. But none of those things quite do it for me like winter does. And here's why:
|1. Winter is the best because ice climbing exists.|
Enough said, right? Last year, I captured six reasons to give ice climbing a try if you haven't already in a post here on Adventure-Inspired. My favorite of all six of those reasons is reason number two - ice is really pretty, and every formation is completely unique. This shot was taken up in Northeastern Pennsylvania during a birthday ice climbing trip, and friend Patrick was kind enough to show us a hidden gem of a formation. I'm absolutely petrified in this picture, as I generally always am when I'm climbing, but there's something special about climbing something that changes so rapidly. With every passing second, the water is melting, freezing, refreezing, or chipping, and it will never be the same again.
|2. Winter is the best because powder days exist.|
|3. Winter is the best because the ordinary becomes extraordinary and other-worldly.|
I'm lucky; I've been up to the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks more times than I can count. The region is known for beautiful scenery, stunning mountains, and butt-kicking trails despite the fact that the largest mountain in the area is only 5,344 feet tall. But this photo was taken on my first trip up one of the 'Dacks most well-know trails in the winter. Aleya is near the summit of Algonquin Peak (5,115') during our Accelerated Mountaineering course with EMS in 2009. I'd only ever seen the Adirondacks lush with green during the summer or bursting with color in the fall. I'd never seen it like this. It's an incredible thing to visit a place you're completely familiar with in the summer, then to go back when all of the landmarks you're accustomed to are buried in white. It also makes wayfinding a little more difficult!
|4. Winter is the best because the sunsets don't get much better than this.|
When I lived in Alaska, one of the most memorable trips I took was down to Seward from Anchorage in the middle of winter. In Alaska, winter starts long before Thanksgiving, even before Halloween, and it was such an incredible experience watching the seasons change there. We drove down from Anchorage along the Seward Highway, past Girdwood, around the end of the Turnagin arm and into a town that fills entirely with tourists in the warmer months. Everything was so quiet and so calm. On the trip back home to Anchorage, we found ourselves in a parking area along the Seward Highway just north of Girdwood witnessing one of the most beautiful sunsets I'd ever seen.
|5. Winter is the best because Mother Nature makes things like this happen.|
I grew up in beautiful Ithaca, New York, and one of the things Ithaca is known for is harsh winter weather. (Of course, that weather pattern is not particularly unique to Ithaca. The entirety of Upstate New York is just plain cold.) Two Christmases ago when I was home, I went for a hike in one of my favorite areas of town - the Cascadilla Creek Gorge. Riddled with frothy cascades of water and bordered by shale walls that are constantly changing, it's an easily accessible and stunning part of Ithaca. Snow was falling, the gorge was quiet, and our little hiking party set to observing some of Mother Nature's incredible wintry scenes. The water moves quickly and never freezes entirely, but we did find a few particularly unique formations I'd never seen before. It was hard to believe they weren't sculpted by hand, and I haven't seen anything quite like them since.
Which season is your favorite? Don't worry, if it's not winter, it's okay! Leave a comment about what makes your favorite season special, or why you love winter.