Weary of being weary, and sore about being footsore, on the last two Sundays I've made efforts to get outside and actually try to enjoy winter in Winnipeg.
It came on as an urge one week ago, in the early morning hours of January 15, so rather than let the urge go to waste I jumped in the car and headed out to the Windsor Park Nordic Centre to have a second go at cross-country skiing -- this time with skis and boots that actually matched and actually stayed on My feet long enough to get somewhere. Weather was the way I like it, not too cold and not too windy, and other than a total inability to get back up a small hill without removing the skis, I kind-of-sort-of got the hang of it. My knees struggled with trying to keep the skis reasonably parallel and reasonably close together, but when I was on the flats in nice parallel grooves I could actually do something that resembled skiing.
I also noticed that on Monday, rather than aching all over, My sore right foot felt notably better than it has in several months. I think it had something to do with giving the Achilles tendon and the bottom of the foot a really good stretching.
Well, today I explored a new vista of outdoor winter fitness. This time I drove down to Fort Whyte Centre, a huge place dedicated to nature conservancy, hiking and such, and rented a pair of snowshoes. The weather couldn't have been stranger: +2°C, melting, misty and occasionally outright foggy, with very light drizzle. The middle of January in Winnipeg, and it's raining. That can't be right.
Suitably equipped with warnings about ice on the trails, and a suggestion to avoid the paths and stay on the snow, I put on a pair of snowshoes and headed out to do some exploring.
I. Love. It.
There is something amazing about being able to walk on top of snow, rather than sinking into it up to one's knees. The snowshoes made a satisfying crunch as they bit into the slightly sticky white stuff, the kind of snow that makes for perfect snowmen, snow forts and snowballs. Occasionally I had to cross or briefly follow one of the heavily-travelled paths, and did a very small amount of impromptu skating on an icy patch, but otherwise I found the snowshoes much easier to manage than the skis I used last weekend. Winter-friendly birds, including chickadees, were out and about. I even saw a deer, quietly watching from a cluster of trees.
I think it's safe to say that I'm going to be looking for My very own pair of snowshoes sometime very soon, as this is an experience I want to repeat. I don't know where I'm going next weekend, but I do suspect these Sunday outings are here to stay.