Icefooting: a great prospect
[Text of a message I posted to SBL after "crazy4diesels" and
I did a short-notice spin around Prospect Hill]
Subject: On the ice!
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2018 16:47:02 -0500
As promised, John and I went snowfooting! We chose Prospect Hill
Park, in Waltham MA -- sort of a "hidden gem" in the middle of
an industrial-park area. We were out there for about 2 hours,
and I'd say it was pretty much *right* at our limits but it was
completely awesome. Almost 50F air temp, but there was still plenty
of snow and ice on the ground. In contrast to a jaunt we did two
weeks ago in the Blue Hills on a similar Saturday warm-weather
spike, this run was more challenging and we even got pix. They're
posed and a little hokey, but that's what you do when you have
10 seconds of countdown timer to run back out into the shot.
First, here's our GPS track, in blue [click to expand]:
We started from the lot at the north end and clawed our way straight
up the first hill, which was pretty slippery in spots. But toes
grab onto the little ice-nubs and soft snow patches really well,
and we didn't have any wipeouts. We were a little chilly at first
but as we continued to fight gravity we warmed right up. We rounded
the water tanks and got onto the paved road which actually felt
quite a bit warmer, as we continued to the top of the hill where
the big ol' radio tower is.
There were also some dry spots where we could warm our feet back
up a little. Not a lot of sun, but patches of old asphalt had
picked up a little radiant heat. Still feeling pretty good,
we continued south along the Ridge trail:
And soon got to the standard overlook, where most people go up
to gawk at the view of Boston.
We took a side trail and then the lower half of the road back
down, where there was a lot of salt, but fortunately not the
calcium-chloride stuff. [I still rinsed my feet off when I
got home, and reapplied moisturizer.] We met some number of
people coming the other way, most of which had the satisfying
reaction -- "omg you guys are ..." -- which we've decided is a
major plus factor in barefoot hiking. Enlightening by example.
Some stretches of the ice had a very hard gravelly texture from
weird melt patterns, so it was both a temperature *and* texture
workout. My pads feel delightfully tingly now, and I'm glad
to find opportunities to keep up with this in *winter*. People
in boots would never get this depth of experience. It seems
like once the fat-pads cool down, the tolerance for cold surfaces
goes way up -- not from any harmful numbing-out or the like, just
less of a delta for the nerves to react to or something. Melting
snow won't be any colder than 32F, so frostbite isn't really a
factor in this sort of setting. Perhaps I'm getting some
insight into how animals can romp around all day in this stuff.
I don't get to this park that often, but I was relating some
of a trip many years ago and it turns out I had actually made a
little webpage about it back in '07. From my previous obsession,
perhaps, catering to a different batch of enthusiasts who were
thinking of having a social meet-up there...
in very different weather. I rarely delete anything up at