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FEB. 6, 2017

Winter Weather Advisory

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What has been up with the weather this winter?  If you’ve been lucky enough (or unlucky enough, depending on your frame of mind) to live in the southeast, you’ll know that we have had an unseasonably warm fall and winter.  Sure we’ve had the rogue snow or ice storm, but really 65 and sunny on Christmas Day?  Not too shabby.  But if you’ve been waxing your skis since September, you’re probably still in the shed scratching your head and staring at the webcams out in Utah.

But none of this should really have you down.  Winter is actually one of my favorite seasons to get out and do my “summer” sports.  There is nothing like the feeling of biking down your favorite trail alone at sunset with just you, the bare trees, and the crisp air.  Or the joy of throwing on your harness and roping up for a midnight ascent up the Nose of Looking Glass to catch the “Super-dooper Moon” just weeks before the winter solstice.  What about paddling in January?  Its 70 degrees and overcast, but you’re out in a t-shirt and splashing down the Tuck after a good night’s rain.

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It really is amazing the way Western North Carolina has it all, and not just the greatest of the sports, but the flexibility to do each of your favorite hobbies (or at least my favorite hobbies) in every season.  For nearly 90 years kids have been flocking to WNC in the summer to join Eagle’s Nest for a rip-roaring summer of learning new skills in a fun environment.  And a huge component of our program teaches these kids how to live and love their experiences in nature, whether through backpacking, climbing, or just walkin’ through the creek.

But once they leave they think that those experiences have to stay back at camp, or in the summer, which is so far from true.  The reason we give them this knowledge is so eventually they will have the power to make this happen on their own, and by all means they should.  I moved to WNC knowing this is where I could do all the things I loved to do, and learned to do when I was a camper.  Little did I know that I’d be picking up some hobbies on the way, and learning that the “off-season” is more than just the slow time at work.  It’s the time when it feels “off” to be climbing in short sleeves or strange that you have the perfect weather to paddle  without a dry suit.

Think back to your days of summer, and the things you love about the warm air and the cool rivers.  Now think about how you can make those things happen for you right now, where you are.  Sure you might be walking through the sand, or fishing through the ice, but you can still being doing the things you love, even if the sun does go down 3 hours earlier.  This is the time to shake things up and remember that even at 4 months away, summer is just around the corner.  But please, don’t forget your headlamp.

Marlin Sill, Hante Director