Friday, January 15, 2016

A Windy Winter Hike

It was incredibly windy yesterday, so windy that the garbage and recycling cans that were put out on the curb in the morning had blown out in the middle of the street within hours, leaving a trail of paper and trash behind them.  What a mess.

It was windy enough in our neighborhood but as Ben and I hiked the half a mile up to Chautauqua Park the force of the wind kept increasing. 

As we traversed the diagonal trail up and across the park we had to really push against the wind.  Hiking uphill against a strong headwind isn't one of my favorite things though Ben was in his element, urging me onward with exclamations of "Isn't it wonderful?!" to which I did not reply. 
When we made it most of the way up the trail turned into the wind and was so strong that it blew my baseball cap right off my head even though I made sure it was securely fastened.  I raced to catch it but lost track of it and I sadly figured that my favorite hat was now gone forever. But Ben, my hero, didn't give up and did finally find it quite a ways off the trail. I was glad since I haven't found another hat quite like it and we have made many memories together, me and that hat. 
We resumed our hike and reached the high point, after which the trail turned downwards. I always love that part of the hike, when the hard uphill is over and it's downhill all the way home.  But we weren't out of the woods yet, so to speak, since we ran into mud. 

Did I say that the trail was snow packed with several stretches of ice?  Probably I didn't, since that's just what is expected on the trails right now.  But we didn't expect mud.  Usually you get mud when the weather warms and everything has melted and it was still cold yesterday.
Oh, yuck! 

Here we go!

Although this was just a short stretch of mud it caked my shoes and cleats so much that I had to scape it off before I could continue the hike. 

See the pole on the right?  That and the cleats are the secret to hiking in snow, ice, and mud.

The funny thing about the wind and the snow and the ice and the mud is that despite it all we still had a great hike.  See how sunny it was?  Beautiful sunshine makes hiking a pleasure in the winter. 

 Check out the big smiles on Ben and Mary!  

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