When the weather forecast promised a sunny Saturday with temperatures reaching up to 10°C, my wife and I eagerly seized the opportunity for a winter hike. Our plan was to stay below the snowline, which was at approximately 1400 meters above sea level. Choosing a trail I had ventured alone a year ago, I was eager to share the beauty of this experience with my wife.
As we embarked on our winter adventure, I kept my eyes peeled for a view toward a summit I had conquered the previous autumn. Striking out without snow, I wondered if any trails around the summit would be visible now. To my not-so-surprising relief, we encountered no human traces. The slope, particularly in the snow, appeared treacherous, and I wouldn’t dare to set a foot into its perilous terrain.
A delightful surprise awaited us as the snow appeared earlier than expected. Fortunately, the snow was firm, preventing us from sinking too deeply. Carrying micro spikes that we ultimately didn’t need, we made the unfortunate decision to leave our gaiters at home. This oversight proved to be a lesson learned the hard way – encountering snow meant wet shoes. While not a serious issue, it was entirely avoidable. The takeaway: always bring gaiters when venturing into snowy terrain. They add negligible weight and take up minimal space but can save you from unnecessary discomfort.
Despite our soggy shoes, we discovered a charming spot for lunch where we could rest in the warmth of the sun before heading back down the trail. Surprisingly, we encountered not a single soul until that point.
One of the highlights of the day was a breathtaking view that I had anticipated since the beginning of our journey. Throughout the hike, I kept an eye out for the perfect vantage point to peer through the trees, capturing the sidelight and shadows. The result was a stunning scene that encapsulated the essence of winter. It reminded me of my solitary visit to the summit last year, sparking thoughts of a possible return later this year. Only time will tell!
Our winter hike was filled with unexpected turns, from a treacherous slope left untouched by others to the early arrival of snow catching us off guard. Yet, these surprises only added to the richness of the experience. Winter hiking, with its challenges and lessons, continues to be a source of delight and discovery. As we head into the new year, the trails are calling, promising more adventures and, undoubtedly, more surprises along the way.