Almanack Contributor Jim Muller

Jim Muller

Jim Muller is an avid Adirondack winter camper who publishes WinterCampers.com. The site features news, information and tips and tricks for winter campers, along with stories and photos from his own adventures.

Jim has recently been taking canoe trips around the ADKs, documenting his trips on www.jimmuller.com. Visit WinterCampers.com to find out more about the joys of winter camping.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Can Wooly Bear Caterpillars Predict Winter Weather?

wooly bearThe woolly bear caterpillar is the larval stage of the Isabella tiger moth, Pyrrharctia Isabella. The Isabella tiger moth overwinters in the larval stage. In the fall, caterpillars seek shelter under leaf litter or other protected places.  They eat mostly weeds, including dandelion, clover, and grasses. Woolly bears are relative speedsters in the caterpillar world, crawling at a neck-snapping .05 miles an hour, or about a mile a day.

The woolly bear caterpillar — with its distinct segments of black and reddish-brown — has the reputation of being able to forecast the coming winter weather. According to legend, the wider that middle brown section is, the milder the coming winter will be. Conversely, a narrow brown band is said to predict a colder, snowier winter. Among a group of woolly bears, the stripes can vary greatly, making their forecast difficult to confirm; the same group of eggs can even hatch into caterpillars of varying dark and light bands. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Adirondack Lean-Tos In Winter

John Dillon Park lean-toThere are benefits to winter camping in a lean-to. Lean-tos are spacious; although each lean-to can be different, typically there is adequate room for five campers. The lean-to provides a level, dry platform for changing clothes, setting up a stove, mixing food, or just plain sitting. They are usually unoccupied in winter.

On the other hand, lean-to’s aren’t particularly warm in cold weather – even if you close off the open side with a tarp. Also, they are usually situated in high-use areas. They can house rodents and the sleeping arrangements can leave you lying wide awake between two prodigious snorers. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Frost Flowers: The Frozen Beauty Of Nature

image003These are one of the stranger ice formations found in the woods; crystallofolia are delicate ice formations that form from water emitted along a stem during a hard freeze in late fall/early winter. From Latin crystallus for ice and folium for leaf these are commonly called “frost flowers” or “feather frost”.

A typical example looks like a small puff-ball of cotton candy, a few inches across, made up of clusters of thin, curved ice filaments.   The petals of frost flowers are very delicate and will break when touched. They usually melt or sublimate when exposed to sunlight and are usually visible in the early morning or in shaded areas. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 2, 2013

When Is It Winter Camping?

P1060646Winter is associated with migration, hibernation, changes in animal behavior, plants becoming dormant, and humans experiencing special health concerns ranging from hypothermia to seasonal depression. Winter even invokes its own special vocabularies to describe the conditions (e.g. black ice, whiteouts, and corn snow).

Descriptions of winter camping depend on geographic location, opportunities to go camping and desire to impress your friends and relatives. There are groups from northern Canada to the Ozarks that claim winter camping experience, although I am sure their conditions and experiences are greatly different.

How you define winter camping might depend on your definition of ‘winter’. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The 2012 American Camping Report Released

Number of Camping TripsThe 2012 American Camper Report provides detailed data and analysis on camping trends throughout the United States. The report presents information on overall participation, preferences, buying behavior and the future of camping.

The report makes a broad definition of camping to include everything from ‘Glam Cabin Camping’ to sleeping overnight in the backyard with your kids, but it has some interesting data none-the-less. » Continue Reading.