Saturday, January 7, 2017

No margin for error

"Hey.it's sixteen degrees!" J said in tones of happy surprise.  We geared up to ski. This was a heat wave compared to our usual temperatures. I haven't been in -20 in quite some time but it is common this winter. The last time I ran, I wore a down skirt (it worked!) and the other day, snowshoeing, I wore a down puffy the whole time, despite climbing some significant elevation.

I've had to scale back in some of my adventures. The day I took the picture above, Ruby and I were going to head up to Aneroid Lake, a 12 mile snowshoe. Ruby doesn't care; she loves the cold and even sleeps outside some nights (the house, even at 60 degrees, is too warm for her). But I realized that  hiking in snowshoes to 8,000 feet, on a trail that nobody else would be on, left just no margin for error. We headed out closer to home instead.

I haven't always been so cautious, but just because I want to hike up to a frozen lake in winter, when the wind chill values are -34, doesn't mean I should.

However, these cold temperatures are making some of us cross our fingers. Back in the old days, I hear that the entire Wallowa Lake froze solid enough that people drove cars across it. It's only frozen once since I lived here. This could be the year! Full of hope, I drove there today to check.



A couple of skinny guys were on the ice, one with a rope that the other guy had tied to himself (safety first). They were eagerly checking the ice thickness. Sadly, it is only about three inches--not safe yet. But there is always hope. There should be a payoff for this brutally cold weather!

Except for feeling tough, though. That's something. And if I lived in Arizona, how would I ever wear my cute down skirt?

19 comments:

  1. I would love a cold winter. My allergies and asthma flared up this week despite a couple of hard frosts. :(

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    1. This is an Alaska winter!! Sorry you are still having allergy issues.

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  2. That's so neat that the lake has only frozen once. Fingers crossed you get another good year for ice.

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    1. The ice looked pretty bumpy from shore but I'd take it.

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  3. When I lived in S. Dakota, my hubby and I would go ice fishing on frozen lakes. The ice was thick enough we'd drive our car right onto the lake. It got down to 14 degrees the other morning and I wish I would've had a down skirt for my morning run!

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    1. I ice fished a time or two but it's the not moving that gets to me. I warm up pretty fast when I'm moving.

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  4. Went ice fishing a couple times here...once our friend drove his truck out on the river basin...I was scared the whole time! Prefer on my feet. Gets pretty fancy around here...ice shanties with heaters...and beer of course. Hope you do get to skate on the lake this winter!

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    1. We just had a rain event but it's back to zero this week. I hope so!

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  5. Your story about Wallow Lake reminds me of waiting for it to snow on Black Mountain in California. People would tell me it used to happen every year, but it never did in the five that I lived there. This year the Bay Area has been slammed with heavy precip and it finally snowed up there.

    This past weekend was brutal in the mountain west. I was attempting a bike race in Idaho and temps dropped to -40. That's actually the first time I've seen -40 outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. Payoff for temps that cold ... even I don't think there's one. ;)

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    1. Where I used to live, Stanley ID, occasionally got that cold in winter..I never stayed in winter, though. I think that would be way too dangerous to be out in the woods then.

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  6. I like that ice chart! I was talking to the rangers at our state park the other day and they said they don't allow anyone to step onto the ice until it is 8 inches thick. Guess it's NM state park regulations. We are having a mild winter. I don't want the cold, but I do want the snow!!!

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    1. Every winter I am amazed by people who choose to live here complaining about winter. Um...we have at least three more months. Embrace or move. Anyway, I have always heard 4 inches as standard but perhaps liability made it 8 there.

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  7. It rained yesterday on top of the snow and even though it's been above freezing more than 36 hours, streets and parking lots are skating rinks. I had to wear my microspikes to get from my car to the office.
    I love nice dry snow, and don't mind cold (to a degree) if it's sunny and calm. But when you try to go out snowshoeing and the windchill makes it dangerous (and painful!) to have any exposed skin, well, that's not exactly fun. But I'd rather have cold than rain. This just sucks.
    Speaking of falling through the ice, you heard about the 41 elk that died on Brownlee reservoir Dec 27? Very sad.

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    1. We lucked out because it turned back to snow. Surprised your office was open. I hadn't heard about the elk...I'll look it up.

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    2. Don't even get me started about our office policy. Apparently it's been changed I suspect by the forest supervisor, so that our office is only closed if the Mayor says it's closed. So when the roads were really bad and we had lots of snow and it was dangerous to get to work and all the other federal Offices and all of the schools were closed in town our office was open and if we didn't get to work we had to take personal leave.

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  8. I shiver to my bones just reading those temps lol...but in my younger days would have been right there with you.My 73 yrs have taught me my mind is young and tells me I can, but it's killing my body trying to keep up lol ...enjoy your post and your adventures...lifts my spirit and warms my heart.Keep us olé broads enlightened that adventures are also in our heats and in our minds...take care ...Bert From Bama

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    1. Thanks, I am also trying to embrace that thought. I like it (adventures in our hearts and minds).

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  10. yes while i was on hiking i had no margin for error otherwise i have to face the reality of death also check Top 10 highest mountains in the world - funklist

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