Oh my goodness, it’s December! It’s 24 days to Christmas! The winter sporting season is in full force! That’s a lot of exclamation marks to kick off a post but my enthusiasm for the holidays will not be squelched. I thought I would share one of my favourite Christmas day hiking memories because, let me assure you, there is no better prelude for a gluttonous Christmas feast than a hike.
In somewhat fortuitous fashion, my bro and I went for a perfect bluebird, snow-filled Christmas day hike last year, a year which also happened to be my parents’ last Christmas living in the Rockies. It’s like we knew we needed to seize the moment. And seize the moment we did.
Picture this: it is Christmas morning. We have torn open all our stockings because, yes, my brother and I still get stockings even as grown-ass adults. We’d devoured Christmas breakfast. It is gloriously sunny outside but ridiculously cold. What else to do but drive for 45 minutes and then go for a 12 km hike, right? Right. This is how my brother and I roll, and it is all the more impressive for him since he lacks proper gear and also has zero percent body fat to insulate him against the elements.
It was, perhaps, one of my best Christmas days. Sure, we couldn’t feel our faces it was so cold. Sure, my iPhone stopped working in the extreme cold (although, really, it was only -28 celsius which, by Rockies standards, isn’t THAT bad). Sure, our water froze inside the bottles leaving us extra dehydrated (we may have had considerable Christmas eve wine). All of that was true.
Still, the scenery was stunning. The trail was uncrowded. The forest was serenely quiet and calm. The crunch of snow underfoot was meditative. The fresh air was invigorating. The perfect bluebird day was a true Christmas present. Yes, I realize how cheesy that sounds.
Long story long, if you have access to mountains on Christmas day and there is blue sky, don’t let the cold keep you from hitting a trail. It may just be the perfect Christmas gift that you never knew you even wanted.