So I got laid off from my job, and last week was my last day. But it’s OK! It’s actually good news. Call me an optimist, but I already know it’s going to be one of those “getting laid off is the best thing that ever happened to me” situations.
I’ve actually hoped that I’d laid off. I’d use the time as a career break, get in the car, and spend my severance driving out west. Do a little hiking, a little camping, with no schedule and no responsibility.
And now, here I am; the world is my oyster! I finally have the time to wander when and where I please.
But there’s one problem.
It’s winter. And in winter, the West is or will shortly be covered in snow. Could I still go? Sure. But am I hardcore enough to face the perils of winter driving in remote wilderness locations alone? Probably not. Am I willing to camp out on a bed of snow? Not really.
So I’m a woman without a plan and lots of long, empty, dark days to fill.
It’s not like I don’t have options. I may not get to section hike the JMT or explore those elusive slot canyons of Grand Escalante just yet, but there are other wildernesses to roam in winter.
I just can’t seem to think of any.
I could give the Ozarks a chance. There’s got to be more than hills and billies there. I could learn to play the banjo.
I could go to south Texas, Cormac McCarthy–style, and fight off some bandits on horseback.
And, look, I’m already out of ideas. The West has such a strong grip on my attention it’s like the rest of the country may as well not exist. So you tell me, what wonderful nature experiences am I overlooking? How should I fulfill my wanderlust in the coldest months of the year?