I wasn’t always a year-round hiker.
I remember very specifically the day that it occurred to me that hiking wasn’t just a summer activity. I was out on the trail with a fellow hiker that I’d met through a New England hiking forum. We were huffing and puffing up a mountain and I asked him, “so how do you learn to hike in the winter time?”
He gave me the best and simplest advice: “you just keep hiking through the fall and pay attention to the changes that happen around you.”
From that day forward I felt empowered to learn new things by putting myself out there. In the months and years that followed, I sought out new friends and mentors who would accompany me through those tough fall and winter days in the White Mountains. I learned from my companions, and through trial and error, what equipment I needed, how to plan for seasonal challenges, and when to turn around and try again another day. Hiking became a thing that I did, not just on occasional bluebird days in the summer, but in every kind of weather imaginable. At any time of year.
As I accumulated more and more hikes I became proficient in dealing with rain, snow, wind, cold, heat and everything in between. I logged hikes in every month of the year in different parts of the country (and a few outside the country). So when I was posed with the question: have you hiked on every calendar date of the year, I figured that I had.
And when I learned that I had not, well, that was a challenge I just had to accept.