Cold Face, Warm Ears

I live in a place that gets cold. Not Fargo cold or Antarctica cold, but cold nonetheless. And it just so happens that my family and I don’t stop enjoying the outdoors just because it gets cold. On the contrary, my hubby loves the cold and routinely winter camps. The kids will stay out in the cold & snow until the absolute last possible moment. I’m a fan of being out in the cold on the condition that I get to return somewhere warm afterward and there’s not a lot of sitting still out in it. In addition to daily walks the kiddos and I take in all but the fiercest weather, sometimes we hike a little further afield in the snow. Last week included one of those little adventures.

My hubby has recently started organizing a small backpacking trip for himself and the kids later this spring. I’d consider going except the mileage they will cover is a little more than my legs will take me and, honestly, I won’t mind a couple days to myself. In any case, it won’t be winter camping, but we’ve really never required the kids to carry substantial packs so last week we decided to take a little trek out on the Ice Age Trail to see how the kids would do with packs.

We packed them up and picked a short out and back hike to a shelter. We are used to having the trail to ourselves, so it was kind of neat that along the way we met an older gentleman who was doing his routine 10mile hike in preparation for a trip to Everest Base Camp. You just never know who you might meet out on the trail. The hike was deserted otherwise though and we enjoyed the snowglobe-ish snow falling in the empty forest.

img_2312This forest is a favorite of mine. It’s pretty thick with trees and it’s hilly and we always hear the weirdest noises. As big fans of the movie Trollhunter, we like to say the crazy noises are trolls. Sometimes I like to come up with troll species names for the specific sounds we hear, but that’s probably more information than I should share here, but just in the off chance you hadn’t gotten the memo that I have a weird sense of humor and am easily entertained — well, there you go.

But I digress.

We made it out to the shelter where the kiddos went about collecting and sawing wood for a fire.

Moose stood watch and was vigilant about keeping track of us. I’m 100% sure he’s terrified that he might be lost or left behind as he — like me — likes to come home to his nice warm bed.

We cooked up a simple warm lunch and hung out around the fire and in the shelter for a good long while.

img_2309You know, just long enough for my feet start feeling like blocks of ice, as they do out in the cold. The hike back, of course, was a little colder since we’d been outside for a while, but thankfully I’d brought my new Timber Bay hat.

img_2337As you can see, I knit this hat pretty generous in the slouch department. Because I made mine out of Sheepish Yarn Co’s Midwest Merino, it has a bit more body and less drape than the sample. In fact, if I don’t pat it down when I put it on it will stand WAY up…

(That’s me on a different day wearing randomly thrown on snow gear and woollies as well as my husband’s cross-country skis. He knew I’ve been wanting to ski and we discovered my skis need repair, so he found a way to make it happen… even if the boots where 4 or 5sizes too big.)

 The Midwest Merino is a really beautiful yarn that I picked up at a special event at Cream City Yarn last autumn. It knits like a rustic wool, but feels much softer to the touch. I would describe it as a true, authentic merino — warm and yet soft enough to wear next to the skin — and it is truly a wonderful combination with this pattern for my cold winter walks and hikes.

I especially love the folded brim…

brimIt is so incredibly warm! Even when my face is frozen (as it was in the photos above), my ears stay nice and cozy.

The textured components are a lovely touch, too.

stitch detailThey are fun to knit without being difficult and both the Andelusian Stitch and the Fisherman’s Rib add both beauty and warmth to the design.

I started this hat on the way back from Yellowstone last month and finished it the day we got home. Well, I finished it except that a week or so later I decided to add a pom to it.

straight onI still think a slightly larger pom would better, but I ran out of yarn so the decision was kind of made for me and I love it all the same.

We made our way back to the car with almost no complaining. Considering the snow and occasionally icy trail, the necessity of wearing snow instead of hiking boots, and the addition of the packs, we are counting this as a small and amazing miracle. The Snickers bar we had on hand for that last boost of energy didn’t hurt our chances either. We arrived back at the car happy and tired, but invigorated by the cold. It may have taken a a little while for my face to warm back up, but thanks to my lovely new hat…

sidewaysmy ears stayed nice and warm.

8 thoughts on “Cold Face, Warm Ears”

  1. Love the photographs and the hat. Doesn’t Fisherman’s Rib qualify as brioche – perhaps a good beginner pattern???

  2. I just happened to find your blog and I am loving it!!! We are also a winter loving family and my hubby and kids are actually out doing a winter camp this weekend…….I am sticking close to my woodstove!! Your hat is lovely and I am so glad I found your blog!!

    1. Welcome! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog here! I hope your hubby & kids had good weather for their adventure and that you stayed nice and toasty! I’m so glad you found my little corner of the internet, too!

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