Winters can be tough for a lot of people, especially in the PNW where it rains most of the time and the winters get wet, windy and cold. As for me, winter is one of my favorite seasons because there are so many different activities and opportunities to explore nature in a different way. One of our favorite things to do is car camp! Yes, camp in the car where its 30 degrees outside. It’s pretty amazing waking up to crisp air being in the middle on a winter wonderland. We’ve picked up a little snowshoeing along the way as well! For car camping, we a Toyota Sequoia with a removable third row, we fold down the second row and throw our gear in the back. We bring a camping bin that contains all of the essentials, cooking utensils, propane, either a grill or our jetboil and of course some booze to help us with the warmth.
For this Mt Baker trip (photos above) we actually were able to park in the parking of the lodge for free. It’s actually quite beautiful at night and it is fairly quiet as we are right at the edge of a cliff. After dinner, we took a stroll along the trail of the slopes and where we were able to just bask in the fresh air and beautiful night sky with even a few stars making an appearance to the party. We woke up the next morning and hit the trail, we actually ended up creating our own trail and it was worth it. We were about knee deep in snow and snowshoed about a mile or so and made our own little spot to have lunch, even with a view!
Lake Wenatchee in Eastern Washington during the winter is quite amazing. Lake Wenatchee has a sno-park where you can car camp and tent camp, you just pay the standard fee in addition to having your regular passes. With the lake being frozen there are plenty of spots to park and camp, they keep everything maintained so it’s not too much snow to trek through. You can chose to stick to the trails or venture off on your own and get lost in the sea of trees.
Get lost at Lost Lake! Which is basically what happened to us. We headed out in the evening and pretty much ended up lost in the middle of the night taking way too many wrong turns down roads that weren’t really even roads. So if you go, download Google maps offline in advance just in case. I must say though, it is definitely worth it. It is the quietest and most serene places I have been in any of my winter adventures. The lake is still and you can hear is the wind blowing through the trees. There were many spots to camp even with fire pits ready to go. We set up a hammock and just sat there enjoying our lunch in peace wrapped up in our blankets.
Every season has its share of adventures and if there aren’t any, make some! Winter camping provides a way to be outdoors without the crowds and beaming heat. There’s a clean crisp feeling that’s in the air, although the sun’s not out there is a brightness from all the fresh white snow. All you really need is a good pair of boots, some good socks and a few layers!