Wherein Chris Acclimates to the Cold

Ohiopyle, PA
 Megan and I decided that the best way to acclimate to the impending misery of Winter was to subject ourselves to exposure now to build up a tolerance. It’s often the subject of some debate as to the best way to approach the impending cold season. Personally, I find charging headlong into the cold weather by wearing last months clothing for this month’s climate works best. It leads to a day of cold feet and hands but I like shocking my system into readiness, especially the lackadaisical Summer mindset. Winter is coming, deal with it now or pay the consequences when the weather is actually bad. This is particularly relevant this year as I prepare to endure months of exposure. And so we packed our bags and set out for Ohiopyle,PA.

On the ride down we listened to the Kite Runner which is a coming of age story about an Afghani boy during the topple of the monarchy. It’s an acclaimed book, and for good reason: it’s really good! I’m not one for audiobooks, but the author commingles a lot of English and (I assume) Pastho, so having a native speaker read it is kind of important.

After pounding some greasy vegetarian food in Ohiopyle proper we drove in circles and settled on parking illegally but out of sight. Our goal was to make the first Laurel Highland Hiking Trail shelter site not long after dark. It’s a great hike, up and over a few steep ridges and down into a nice hollow. I haven’t been there in years, not since my first ill conceived backpacking trip. How ill conceived?

  • I biked 60-70 miles to the trailhead, suffering heatstroke on the way
  • I didn’t pack a sleeping bag
  • I didn’t pack food
  • I didn’t pack more than 20 oz of water for a 90 degree day
  • I didn’t pack a change of shoes so I hike 6.3 miles in cycling shoes
  • I did pack climbing shoes!

Like I said, I prefer to shock the system and that was a helluva trip!

Anyway, we got to the campsite about an hour after dark, still full from our greasy lunch and too tired to care. We both crammed into my tiny 1 person tent and read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle to each other before turning in. Two people, Two pads and two sleeping bags crammed into a 6’x3′ footprint was more comfortable than you might think.

The next morning we pounded our coffee and oats and headed back to town and hiked ferncliff. When we eventually returned to Pittsburgh we pounded butternut squash stuffed with wild rice, pecans, and raisins and finished watching Virunga. We’re rapidly approaching hibernation season and here I am preparing to spend all of it outdoors….

6:10 AM EDT
October 19, 2015

12:10 PM EDT
October 19, 2015

6:10 PM EDT
October 19, 2015


Low: 26°F, High: 51°F
Wind Speed
Avg. 3 mph 234° Max 9 mph
Avg. Visibility
10 miles

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