In my experience so far, January is usually the worst month when it comes to real hiking. It’s usually around zero, which means the uncomfortable mix of snow and mud. There were a few years when mid-February was quite a cold wave – 2006 comes to my mind, when the temperature remained around -20°C day and night for great part of the month, the lowest temperature here in the city being around -25°C during day. Or it’s not as cold, but there’s cold and strong wind. The unpredictability means that for hikes planned by the club, it’s usually short walk near the city where it’s not that hard to make some last-minute adjustments. And it was long before I decided to go out alone in this month.
It was in 2014 when that happened the first time. I went to a place I knew well, and the weather was definitely not like a winter. Almost no snow even in the hills, and a cold wind instead. Even the ski slope on the hill had almost no snow.
While I enjoyed the first part of the hike, it turned to be quite intense in the mid-part. On the highest peak of this hike, I was buffeted by strong winds that were reaching supposedly maybe 80km/h and as the man on the chalet some two thirds through told me, the highest peaks had wind reaching 120km/h that day. I “have” a photo from that day, me on the peak, but due to the strong winds it blurred a lot. By the way, this is still taken by the spare phone I was using before I bought my current camera in late 3/2014.
2015 had some snow in the early and mid February, though most of it was gone a week later.
This photo is just below the main part of the peaks, walking down from a hill with peak at the 524 meters mark, the closer peak to the right being 890. The plan for that day way some 13km, but in the quite nice weather I extended it to almost 18.
That extension led me to the slopes of the mountain shown in the photos above, instead of bypassing it below. The trail does not reach the peak, instead goes to a pass behind it where they branch and that way I went behind it and descended to my destination with this slight, planned detour.
Truth is that sunny and temperature in -10 to -5 °C range is pretty much perfect, as long as the night is cold enough to freeze the snow through so it can carry my weight comfortably.
That felt quite like early spring. No snow, sometimes rain, not really good weather for hiking. No photos taken on the single hike in that month.
The 2017 February hike I went alone was cold, but as I mentioned in the beginning, it was roller-coaster around zero, often above in the day and below in the night, meaning roads and paths were slick with thin layer of ice. I took different place for start and finish, but had short (1,5km) overlap with the 2015 hike.
The second was what I mentioned, a walk close to the city, but the forests were at least slightly covered with frozen snow, which gave some winter feeling to it, making it one of the better years for that specific month.
This year’s February is not over yet, but I might as well mention it. I went out two times so far – this and previous Saturday and with the forecast promising temperature drop to the “ideal” -5 to -10 range, hopefully one more next week.
For the last week, I gave it its own post, and for yesterday, I guess I will wait and see as there was not so much to mention it alone, so would probably merge it with the next, if it happens. For now, there’s one picture as teaser.
And that’s it from me for now.