Most People Posting Warm Weather Photos in Winter Aren’t Assholes (Except for Californians)

Any person on social media (everyone) witnesses a divide that seems to happen every winter – on one side stands those in East Coast and Northern states, feeling frigid and depressed in a world of snow, ice, and freezing wind, and on the other side lounges everyone in sunny states, seemingly blissful as they hang out by the swimming pool, go on hikes, watch sunsets, etc. While the East Coasters can be seen bitterly posting screenshots of their single digit (sometimes in the negatives) temperatures, West Coasters are found posting shitty memes (saying things like, “My favorite part of winter is watching it on TV from California”) that inspire harsher pangs bitterness in the shivering bellies of every snow dweller.

Phoenix Winter Storm Meme Funny

People in Southern/South Western states are no different with their Instagram posts of sunsets, tan lines, and poolside pedicures. But living in Phoenix this winter, I realize the very big difference between what it means to brag about winter here and what it is to brag about it in California.

Let me tell you a little bit about summers in the desert. Temperatures rise above a hundred degrees (actually above 110 degrees) and often stay there for at least 30 days at a time. All traces of green disappear. The leaves die and fall off the trees, the grass dies and leaves a myriad of dust pits in its place, and views of the mountains and surrounding desert become a dull, relentless sea of brown. Dust storms sweep through Phoenix semi-frequently, choking the already smoggy air and blanketing the city for days afterward.

The high temperatures of summer in Phoenix last for five months. FIVE MONTHS. That’s pretty much the equivalent of a long winter in Cleveland. So for five months, people take shelter indoors, staking out in air conditioned movie theaters, museums, and bowling alleys. It’s not a joke to go outside during summer in Phoenix – it’s seriously dangerous. There’s a big outdoorsy scene here and even those brave souls you won’t find trying to hike the mountains until well after 9pm, when the ground has cooled off enough to not cook you. And having just popped my night-hike cherry, let me tell you it’s not the most pleasant. The need for flashlights limits your ability to think creatively on how best to get up or down steep areas. Predators such as hawks and coyotes are known to come out for hunting. Also tarantulas, scorpions, and rattlesnakes. Okay, maybe I’m just not the adventuring type, so sorry for the whiney paranoia, but I have yet to find a desert animal or creature I wouldn’t mind being within 10 feet of me.

Winter Green Palm Trees in Phoenix
Look at all that green!

The point is, summer in the desert is the equivalent of winter on the East Coast. Everything dies and being outside becomes unbearable, leading to the depressing, constant state of remaining indoors that is weighing on many of you right now during snow season. So think twice before you feel bitter about seeing a sunset post this winter on a desert resident’s Instagram account. They’re not posting it to be cut deeper into your misery, they’re just genuinely excited to be able to experience some fresh air without passing out from heat stroke. This summer, everyone here will be jealous of your beach pictures because the idea of sand and bare feet at that time will make them want to cry and jump immediately into an ice bath.

Those Californians though, with their year-round perfect weather, are total jerks. You should definitely keep hating on them.

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Reckless Abandon: Climbing Mountains in Vermont

Stowe Pinnacle Trail, Stowe, Vermont, hiking, mountain hiking, mountains, The Adirondack Mountains, Adirondack, New York, Green Mountain State, outdoors, summer activities, summer hikes, Lake Champlain

If there’s one thing you learn while traveling, it’s that something that has one meaning in one place can have a totally different meaning somewhere else. As in, telling someone that you’re “going for a hike” in Ohio means that you’re going on a slightly rigorous nature walk, perhaps with a little workout involved as you head uphill for one brief moment or climb over fallen trees. Yeah, that’s not the case here.

Going for a hike in Vermont means that you’re climbing a mountain, straight up. And that’s exactly what I did.

Hikes in Vermont are categorized mainly by three levels of difficulty: a green circle for Easy or Beginner, a blue square forIntermediate, and a black diamond for Difficult. I’ve heard that there are double black diamonds out there, but I honestly don’t even want to think about what that entails. For our hike, my boyfriend and I chose “Stowe Pinnacle Trail,” which was in the blue square level of difficulty. This being our first hike, we didn’t want to over exert ourselves, but wanted a bit more of a challenge than the equivalent of snowboarding the Bunny Hill at a ski park.

Did I say that right? I meant A BIT of a challenge. A BIT of a challenge is not what we got.

Stowe Pinnacle Trail, Stowe, Vermont, hiking, mountain hiking, mountains, The Adirondack Mountains, Adirondack, New York, Green Mountain State, outdoors, summer activities, summer hikes, Lake Champlain

The trail was only 1.65 miles and started out with these cute little plank bridges that crossed over muddy areas and tiny ravines. It was sweet, really, and I was delighted taking pictures along the way of our adorable adventure into nature. Soon after my first snapped pics, however, the trail started to incline. No big deal, we were prepared for that.

Soon the inclines weren’t ending though. There were no more breaks of level ground to catch our breath, and we had already finished our first of two water bottles. Rationing our sips of water for only when we really needed them, we continued on. The steady incline turned into giant, nature-made stone steps that required the highest of knee lifts to reach. It was at this point that the thoughts started to pour into my head:

“Thank goodness we picked such a cloudy, cool day to do this!” as I wiped sweat from my brow.

“I’m sure we’re at least halfway there…” We had only completed the first 1/5 of the trail at that point.

And my personal favorite, “Who the hell decides to climb Mount Everest?! Those people are crazy and not my friends!”

I’m going to stop ranting about it now, because if any of you go to check out the trail and its reviews, you’ll see nothing but remarks on how easy it is, “even for four-year-olds!” Moral of the story is: There’s nothing like a hike up a mountain to tell you how out of shape you are.

Here are some photos of our hike (you’ll notice that all of the difficult incline parts are absent, because we were too busy hiking our asses off to take photos):

Stowe Pinnacle Trail, Stowe, Vermont, hiking, mountain hiking, mountains, The Adirondack Mountains, Adirondack, New York, Green Mountain State, outdoors, summer activities, summer hikes, Lake Champlain

Stowe Pinnacle Trail, Stowe, Vermont, hiking, mountain hiking, mountains, The Adirondack Mountains, Adirondack, New York, Green Mountain State, outdoors, summer activities, summer hikes, Lake Champlain

Stowe Pinnacle Trail, Stowe, Vermont, hiking, mountain hiking, mountains, The Adirondack Mountains, Adirondack, New York, Green Mountain State, outdoors, summer activities, summer hikes, Lake Champlain

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Stowe Pinnacle Trail, Stowe, Vermont, hiking, mountain hiking, mountains, The Adirondack Mountains, Adirondack, New York, Green Mountain State, outdoors, summer activities, summer hikes, Lake Champlain

Stowe Pinnacle Trail, Stowe, Vermont, hiking, mountain hiking, mountains, The Adirondack Mountains, Adirondack, New York, Green Mountain State, outdoors, summer activities, summer hikes, Lake Champlain