Winter Camping in Arkansas 2012 

I spent many a year backpacking around Central and South America and a few more doing the same in the USA. I figured that the only type of climate I had not spent much time in was deep snow. Hearing that a winter storm was advancing toward the Ozarks, I decided to head that way and find out if I liked being outdoors in freezing cold and snowy weather.

I found out.

Blanchard Springs, Arkansas was my goal. A few hours after setting camp in that bare forest---and I was the only one around for miles---I was caught in the worst winter storm to hit Arkansas in 90 years. The snow covered my tent, and several times during the night I had to remove the accumulated snow from the rainfly. In the morning after the worst of the storm had passed I had to spend time digging out and clearing the snow from the tent and the stove. A snow bound stove would have meant no hot coffee. And that would have meant a horror beyond horrors in that frozen wasteland.

I stayed in that icy forest for four days. At times delightful, at times dreary, it was at all times bitterly cold. It was difficult to stay outside the tent for very long unless I moved around. Much of the time I stayed warm and toasty in the tent while wrapped in my Marmot sleeping bag and reading a fat book of Medieval History.

My verdict on winter camping? I hate it. Sort of.


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