Kisatchie in Winter

Kisatchie in Winter

By Bryn Wooten


Last weekend I went on a short backpacking trip with a friend in Kisatchie National Forest. The only national forest in Louisiana, Kisatchie is a beautiful hardwood forest area with rolling hills and lots of red dirt! We had been planning this trip for a few weeks, but what we weren’t expecting was to be heading out right after a winter storm.

After last week’s crazy winter weather, we weren’t sure what to expect further north, but we needed some good ‘ol outdoors time, so we decided to venture on. When we arrived Friday night at the trailhead, the temperatures had already dropped quite a bit. The trees were all coated with a shimmering layer of ice that covered every pine needle. That night I slept in the coldest weather I’ve ever camped in: 18˚F!

When we woke up the next morning, we packed up and set out on the Backbone Trail. Our goal was to hike the first 4 miles that day and do the last 4 along with a 3-mile road walk the next day. The sun had come up from behind the trees when we started, the clouds started to burn off, and it warmed up a little bit.

This was a welcome change until the icicles started melting. As it got warmer and warmer, the icicles started falling off the trees over the trailhead. What started out as an occasional smattering of ice coming down turned into chunks of ice falling as densely as rain! We were getting hit in the head and ice was falling down the backs of our necks, but we laughed through it and kept pressing on.

Eventually, however, all the ice and snow melting had created too much runoff and the trail was flooded in the valleys. We tried for a while to navigate around the water, but as puddles started turning into ponds we decided to turn back. Cold, wet feet did not sound worth it! Our plan B was to backtrack to a campsite on higher ground and spend the day relaxing and enjoying the sun. We hiked out the next morning, and even though it wasn’t according to plan, it was still a trip to be remembered!

About the Author

Name: Bryn Wooten

Year in School: Junior

Major: Neuroscience and Psychology

Hometown: Colorado Springs

Favorite Outdoor Activity: Climbing

Favorite Camp Food: Mac and cheese with taco seasoning

Ideal Outdoor Adventure Trip Destination: Climbing and backpacking in Southeast Asia

If you were stranded on a desert island, what/who would you bring with you: a boat