Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter Walking

It's been cold here in the heartland recently.  And whenever it's the coldest, I'm almost always out walking in the weather.  That's mostly because I refuse to ride my bike whenever it's below 20°, so that means I'm putting boots on the pavement to get where I need to go.

How do I do it?  It's all about the clothes.

Let's start with the feet, very important extremities to keep warm.  There have been many advances in wool socks over the years, so pick a soft or smart version in your favorite color and you're on your way.  We can't forget boots, but they go on last, so we'll return to them later.

In my early years in the Midwest, I favored long underwear to keep my legs from freezing, but now I wear outer pants.  Rain pants, wind pants, snow pants, depends on what I have.  I probably protect my legs the least, but they haven't failed me yet.  And when I get to my destination, I can remove the outer pants easily.

I have to thank my sister-in-law for having the perfect parka.  She helped me figure out what features were absolutely necessary, like a below-the-waist length, a hood, and pockets big enough to hold a book.  Underneath the parka, I'm wearing at least two layers, one of them probably a fleece.  And underneath the hood, I'm wearing a cloth ski mask.

If it's above 10° and not too windy, I don't usually have the hood up and I'm either wearing a ear band or a lighter hat.  I do have a new hat this winter that I love, but it's not proving to be very good for colder temperatures.

The other extremities, the hands, are also vital to keep toasty.  I had a favorite pair of gloves last winter, but I lost the right one, so now I'm wearing a fantastic glove on the left and a claw glove on the right.  (A claw glove has only two large finger spaces for your four fingers.  It's supposed to be warmer than a glove, but have better dexterity than a mitten.  I remain unconvinced.  Unfortunately, it's the best solution for my right hand that I could find in the winter gear box.)

And finally it's back to the feet.  Depending on the depth of the snow and the length of the walk,  I either wear Sorel boots that reach just below my knee, or my newish hiking boots.  Either pair keeps my feet dry.

And voila!  I'm ready to walk in the wintry air.  Just this morning I walked to the gym and back in 0° weather.  Each way took about 20 minutes.

What a wonderful, sunny, brisk day.  I'm glad I'm well prepared to be outside.

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