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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The cooler the better, I say!

Most people get a bit blue when Fall weather arrives and starts hinting at the Winter to come.  They miss the warm sunshine and long days and resent the constricting clothing that the lower temperatures demand.

I'm the opposite.  I hate hot weather.  I looove the cooler temperatures... the colder the better.  I figure you can always add a layer or three... but there is a limit to what you can take off!  And BTW, if I don't get to wear my 'duck boots' and 'Baxter State Parka' at least a few times, it's as if Fall/Winter never came.

When I lived in then the U.S. I used to look forward all year to the annual mountain climbing trip I would take with a close friend every Winter.  Every year we'd go up to the Presidential Range in New Hampshire and climb Mt. Madison, a long trek from Pinkham Notch which traversed a long valley, a couple of ridges and an extended stretch above the tree line.  It required cross country skis, snow shoes and even crampons at times due to the diversity of the terrain.  Usually during the course of the climb we'd have to contend with a couple of snow storms, high winds (one one memorable night the wind actually tore our tent to ribbons, forcing us to put up our spare tent in the middle of a blizzard), and of course our own physical limitations. 

It was a blast!

Everything I hate about summer camping - dirt, poison ivy, bugs, crowds, foraging animals, heat, sweat, etc. - is absent from the winter camping scene.  We often went days without seeing another human being, and other than the occasional set of deer tracks, the only animals keeping us company were a few birds. 

And everything is pristine in Winter. If we accidentally tipped over a pot of stew... no big deal, we just scooped it out of the snow and put it right back into the pot.  No harm done.  Try that in the Summer!

And speaking of food, when you are hiking/camping in sub-freezing temperatures, you burn calories at roughly twice the normal rate... so your body starts craving fat, and absolutely everything tastes incredible.  We would sometimes even add a pat of butter to our tea to up the caloric intake.  You even have to get up at least once or twice during the night to 'refuel' your internal furnace with a snack and some tea or your body won't be able to maintain the proper core temperature.

And if you want to have water to cook with in the morning (rather than wasting valuable fuel melting snow), you have to keep a canteen or two between your legs in the sleeping bag... since everything else is frozen solid.  Although, I have to admit there were mornings where even the water inside the sleeping bag was solid ice.

The reason I'm walking down memory lane here is because today was the first morning where I'll have to wear a jacket leaving the house.  I've even laid out a nice flannel plaid LL Bean shirt... a sure sign that Autumn is officially here.  RIght now it's only raining... but where there's rain, the colder temperatures can't be far off.

We only get one or two days of snow where we live now... but I'm already looking forward to it because Zahava and I will put on our cross country skis and do a few circuits of the neighborhood before the cars turn it all to slush.

I'm sure readers in Chicago and Minnesota are laughing right now... but over here, a little nip in the air is cause for celebration!

Posted by David Bogner on November 17, 2009 | Permalink

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What the heck is a crampon? I know what it SOUNDS like...and speaking of LLBean shirts...I still have that box here....:-)

Posted by: Marsha in Englewood | Nov 17, 2009 2:53:05 PM

You would have loved shore duty in Adak.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Nov 17, 2009 3:05:02 PM

Marsha in Elnglewood... I know what it sounds like, but if you are trhing to climb an ice wall, what you have in mind won't be of much help. Try this on for size. :-)

Karl Newman... Having stood both petty officer of the watch and officer of the deck duty in Pusan Korea and Sasebo Japan in the dead of winter was quite enough for me, thanks. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Nov 17, 2009 3:09:16 PM

Hear hear!

My biggest regret about making Aliyah is that a few years earlier, I'd purchased a really nice cashmere shabbos over coat for really cheap.

Since we arrived, I've never been able to wear it; it's either too warm or rainy. Come to think of it, I only actually put on a coat for a few days a year (unless it's raining).

Posted by: Mike Miller | Nov 17, 2009 4:10:47 PM

As someone who has spent many years living in a "warmer" climate and suffered through "summer" weather year-round, I can't possibly begin to understand this love of cold weather. Bring on the summer heat and humidity!! No expensive winter clothing to purchase, no slippery sidewalks covered in ice, no winter accessories to lose (scarves, gloves, etc.), no snow to scrape off the car, no need to move the car to avoid getting "plowed" in by the snow plow....

I'll take summer any day over winter - despite the heat, it's a much happier season!

Posted by: tnspr569 | Nov 17, 2009 4:23:54 PM

This reminds me of the bit by the late comedian Mitch Hedberg:

“I want to climb a mountain — not so I can get to the top — cause I want to hang out at base camp. That seems fun. You sleep in a colorful tent, you grow a beard, you drink hot chocolate, you walk around, ‘Hey, you going to the top?’ . . . ‘Soon.’”

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Nov 17, 2009 4:39:01 PM

Cool with me!

Posted by: Yabu | Nov 17, 2009 5:16:36 PM

Snow is fun - for one day. Although I really miss the fall leaves, I definitely do not miss the freezing cold of months and months of winter.

Posted by: westbankmama | Nov 17, 2009 5:24:15 PM

I'm with you. I know I sound like a brat complaining about endless days of sun and warmth, but I cant's stand being hot and am totally enjoying what most would consider to be rather dreary weather. Time to make another pot of soup!

Posted by: Rachel | Nov 17, 2009 5:31:52 PM

Wow! David, you had me walking right along with you! I'd started putting together the stuff I'd need for just such a camping trip... coaxing my wife into going for just the reasons you gave, no bugs, more importantly no SNAKES (I think that would/will seal the deal...) Then I read tnspr569's comment, and the daydream came crashing down. It's still there, but it's tempered now... with the shivering... the inability to get the fire going... It's been a long time since I've been winter camping, but something I'll have to see about getting into again... Thank you.

Posted by: Jethro | Nov 17, 2009 5:35:26 PM

I'm with you. The colder the better. The summer lasts way to long here. I wear my winter coat maybe 2-3 times a year.
It's alot milder in Modi'in than when you are. I'm nowhere near taking out the winter jackets. I just started wearing longer sleeves, although I'm still wearing Naot sandals...

Posted by: Baila | Nov 17, 2009 6:03:50 PM

If we accidentally tipped over a pot of stew... no big deal, we just scooped it out of the snow and put it right back into the pot. No harm done. Try that in the Summer! Indeed!
I am with you the cold is usually more pleasant than the heat. I have never tried camping in the cold but I am not keen on camping in the summer; I haven't done it in fact since Girl Guides' days.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Nov 17, 2009 7:55:13 PM

"They miss the warm sunshine" hah. Remember, Trep; I live at 33 degrees latitude, in a desert, too. It ain't warm sunshine (and I don't mind; I was raised in this briar patch). It's "relentless, physically palpable heat beating down on you."

My personal best? 129 degrees Fahrenheit, with over 120 being fairly common. Oddly, this year, we didn't get much above 115. ;o/

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Nov 18, 2009 1:39:29 PM

PS regards heat: I tell people, it's like snow. You stay indoors and ride it out. But you don't have to shovel it off of your sidewalk when you go out after sundown. So put me down for heat.

At least, until the missus has her way and we move to Colorado in the near future...

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Nov 18, 2009 1:41:42 PM

Mike Miller ... I have a nice wool overcoat too, but I think I'v eworn it once since we made aliyah.

tnspr569 ... Your argument fell apart before you even got started when you used the phrase "As someone who has ... suffered through "summer" weather year-round... ". Dude, you can't tell me you're suffering and then tell me all the plusses. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Nov 18, 2009 2:59:25 PM

Completely agree about preferring colder to hotter weather. I think it's cuz the Bogner sweat gene is tripple the power than others! It's in the 40's today and I'm still sweating and walking to the car carrying my coat (no way do I drive with the coat on!) I bring it on the off chance i break down or get into an accident. really.

Love the image of your winter camping, but really love the image of you guys cross country skiing in your neighborhood... take pics!

Posted by: val | Nov 18, 2009 4:46:45 PM

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