Old man winter is being fickle this year. One minute he sinks his teeth into the land, the next he goes all soft and gooey. Frankly, I prefer it when he just settles down, giving out nothing but cold, hard stares. That way I know what he's up to. All this messing around with rain and warm temperatures is very inappropriate and not a little devious, like he's getting a kick out of sending mixed messages.
November arrived, and settled under its usual blanket of grey, bringing along my annual bout of seasonal depression. But this year the greyness and my bad mood have stuck around until February. The sun tried to peek through a couple of times, but you knew it wasn't here to stay – just reminding you what you'd miss when the blanket descended again.
Maybe it's my imagination, but it feels like I've spent the winter so far scowling and prowling around the apartment like a caged bear. I've had to drag myself outside by the skin of my teeth, and force feed myself morsels of outdoor enjoyment. Fortunately, those morsels usually cheer me up no end.
Since that photos was taken a couple of weeks ago, it's warmed up again, and all that lovely snow is off the trees. Grey is the new orange.
I know, I know. I shouldn't complain. We're lucky we have snow at all; lots of places don't. And I really have relished the moments that the sun manages to break through.
This year has been weird though; far less snow than normal and atypically warm. The river almost melted in January (unheard of), and yesterday it was raining (in February, when it should be -15ºC at most). The constant cloud cover means very little in the way of northern lights, which means less income (I don't take people out unless you can actually see them, unlike some other companies I could mention). The people on this trip were lucky: the clouds broke for precisely one (1) hour.
On the plus side (all clouds have a silver lining, right?) I've had some time to think. Think about the blog, about the business. I've decided to scale things back a bit. Money's too tight to mention, but I will anyway. I just can't afford to spend time on things that don't generate income at the moment. In the last couple of years I've tried a lot of things: fatbike rentals, packraft rentals, guided trips, self-guided trips, nature tours, photography tours, advertising... you name it, it's been thrown at the wall to see if it sticks, and all I have now are a bunch of messy walls.
So it's time to clean up. Here's what's happening:
There will be a short recess. A wintermission, if you like, during which I complete the migration of Backpacking North over to a new site. If you're reading this, you're already here – so that's a bonus!
This site will have all the old content, but posts will be more focused and more "article-like". In other words, I'm aiming for quality, not quantity (not that my previous efforts have exactly been high frequency, or (at least hopefully) low quality, so far).
I'm in the process of updating and rewriting the Ultralight Makeover series. The Overview and Downsize Your Pack are already complete. The rest are underway. A new post script will appear soon with complete ultralight kit recommendations for anyone wanting to transition to ultralight from their existing kit.
You can still rent packrafts, go on a northern lights photography or nature tour, or, if you're more adventurous, sign up for a self-guided wilderness adventure. You can also now buy some of my beautiful photographic prints direct from this site, and they're now also available in A4 and A5 sizes, at a lower price.
It might take a little while for everything to reach 100% operational capacity(!), but I'm getting there. Just be ready to put up with a few teething troubles while I smooth out the wrinkles.
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