Shoulder Season Survival

People warned me about November.

“It’s the worst month,” they said. “Nelson gets completely socked in.”

And yes, November was a dark, cold month of endless rain and low clouds. We went weeks without feeling the sun and the snow line shifted teasingly up and down the mountains. The fall colours were gone and the time change brought the sunset creeping earlier into the afternoon. Bleh.

The shoulder season involves those spring and fall months where there is no skiing and no alpine hiking. And November is a special case with extra dark, extra cold, and extra wet. So here are my tips for surviving November in the Kootenays.

  1. Get outside anyways. There are some decent shoulder season hikes below the snow line. And rain makes the colours in the forest shine and brings mushrooms pushing up from the ground.
  2. Catch up on projects. I passed a lot of time painting some of my favourite hiking spots while listening to podcasts. Also nanowrimo.
    Acrylic painting of Mulvey Basin
  3. Go to community events. Getting out of the house in the evening was a key part of staying sane. And Nelson always has stuff happening around town – winter fairs, storytelling nights… even a chainmail workshop!
  4. Make home a cozy place. When the sun sets at 3:45pm, lighting some candles and organizing tea makes the evenings a lot more bearable. Then Netflix under a pile of blankets.
  5. Make winter plans. I bought cross-country skis and seeing them leaning in the corner is a reminder of good things to come.
  6. Stay active. Getting out for brisk walks and lunch-hour runs made me feel less bad about being lazy in the evenings. Even though its hard and even though its cold, get outside and be active anyways.

And now November is over and Whitewater Ski Resort opens tomorrow, December 9th. There is lots of adventure to come!

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