Merry Christmas!

My bells are a-jingling, my halls are fully decked with boughs of holly, and the whole world it seems has been letting it snow. It must be Christmas, but even Santa can't resist a little backpacking before his work begins in earnest.

Santa's ascent of Mount Seward

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who follows Backpacking North, a wish you all a splendid Christmas and new year!

I've been surprised and overwhelmed at the support and sense of community in the lightweight, ultra-light, and smarter backpacking blogging world since I began writing in May. I've found writing for the blog has given me the motivation to get out more, which has done wonders for my health, both mental and physical.

There has been a lot going on at home in the last few months which has prevented me from going out more and reduced the amount of time I've had for writing. Hopefully this will change in the new year. In the meantime, I've been living vicariously through the words of others, and by way of thanks, I'd like to highlight a few of the great blogs being written by like-minded people 'out there.' All of these fantastic blogs feature great writing and photography, and have led me to discover new interests and obsessions over the last year which my paltry income can't possibly keep up with. So, for starters, check out the following...

Nordic Lightpacking

- the gang of Nordic bloggers into whose hallowed halls I was honoured to be invited last month. From this link you will discover the delights of

Hiking In Finland


Thunder in the Night


The Bearable Lightness





Nielsen Brown Outdoors


The Armchair Adventurer

, and

Going Lighter


My other top blogs of the year are from the UK, notably:

Lightweight Outdoors

Summit and Valley

Steven Horner

Helen's Wondering Wanderings

Minimal Gear

There are of course many others, so don't feel left out if you're not listed here. There are plenty more links to be found in the sidebar on the right. Check them out, and enjoy some winter reading curled up by the fireplace (but not too close, you don't want to melt your new iPad).

As for next year, I have a few things planned... Some winter backpacking on the Superior Hiking Trail; a few days in the northern Badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park; a potential return to the canyonlands of Utah; and maybe some East coast exploration. There are plenty of gear reviews also coming up, including the First Ascent Hangfire Hoodie, some hardcore winter gear, and something for the tech fetishists among you.

Now though, I have a gingerbread house to make, and will therefore disappear for a few days to begin construction.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and leave you with

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

from the Cocteau Twins, an appropriate song for a hiking blog if ever there was one.