Truth is, I’m just not a winter kind of guy |

Truth is, I’m just not a winter kind of guy

Common GroundBill KightGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

It’s not that I’m a wimp about winter. I just don’t like it. Never have and never will.No, it’s not that I haven’t tried most all the winter sports at one time or another.Made long treks with heavy backpacks and winter camped with the best of them until sleeping on the ground became too painful from my arthritis.

Used to be able to catch up with my daughters on the slopes, me on my skinny skies and weird getup, them in their pretty ski outfits.But as soon as I caught up to them whenever they stopped, off they would go with, “Our father taught us not to talk to strangers.”Didn’t want anyone to know they were associated with such a weirdo. Must have been the Belgium paratrooper pants, an out-dated wool shirt, Army surplus mitten shells and a Mad Bomber Russian-style rabbit fur-lined hat with the earflaps down and flailing in the breeze.It’s still my favorite hat that to this day produces laughs from the family whenever I wear it. No problem keeping my head warm.Still have the Army surplus mitten liners, though the wool mittens inside have been replaced a few times. They just don’t make some things like they used to.Lately my feet have decided to stay colder than usual. So I purchased this expensive pair of thin socks under my usual wool pair. They look like they’re made out of wet-suit material but I don’t care, they do the job.

Keep head, hands and feet warm and let winter come. That’s been my motto. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out to prove anything when it’s as cold as the last few weeks have been.And it’s not just me. Older and similarly experienced (i.e. old fart) outdoor enthusiasts friends feel the same way.It’s mighty hard to go outdoors to “enjoy” winter when the thermometer is this low. Why bother?But there is no reason to settle for terminal cabin fever, either. So I decided to go to a warmer cold place last week.Snowbird was the host of a national partnership conference that I was invited to attend.Most people around here sneer when they hear about Utah and the fine powder snow they receive most every winter. Envy, that’s all it is.

It was hard for me to find Cliff Lodge with the 16 feet of snow they’ve received this year. Snowbird averages 500 inches annually. That much snow also makes the locals envious.Had fun snowshoeing with the folks who run the place. It was downright warm, a balmy 26 degrees.Got to hobnob with a deputy chief of the Forest Service willing to try snowshoeing for the first time. “I can do this because we’re a ‘can do’ agency,” she told me.Made me downright proud to realize those of us from the top on down who chose to work for such outdoor agencies are made of tough stuff.Tough enough to outlast winter.With almost 30 winters (and summers) in federal land management agencies, Bill Kight, of Glenwood Springs, shares his stories with readers every other week.

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