I love skinning at night. My headlamp stays in my bag and I follow the glow as we move upward and onward.
You can't see your companions if they're beyond the shadows and instead you have the world of the nighttime forest to yourself.
That is, until your 10 year old skins remind you that they shit the bed last spring by silently sliding off the tail. It didn't take long to realize that I would be post-hole-ing the majority of the hike while my buddies enjoyed their evening skin.
This means making a hole in the heavy snow up to your knee with every step. More torture than fun, but sometimes the only way to the top :)
But the goal was to sleep in the woods - how long it took to get there was not the objective. Everything was so quiet...and DEEP.
My companions asked if I wanted to turn around and I did go through moments of sulking over my misfortune, but I was reminded of an old Confuscious saying that I saw in Off-Piste Magazine this month:
It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you don't stop.
So, for a strange and backward experience, I used my knowledge of the local drift zones to avoid the deep powder. Instead of going toward the deep snow, I tried to find the shallowest snow to try and keep up with the boys.
But I did it and the reward at the top was glorious :) We woke up this morning to a marshmellow world of winter, with huge puffs of snow hanging onto still leafed trees.
Everything had been worth it, even letting a shivering Vespi share my sleeping bag.
And then, we went skiing :)
May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,