Right? Uh, no, but today it didn’t hurt anything which frankly is what I’m going for these days.

These are my peeps D&L. Yes, they are ridiculously good looking, even in their “ohmigod it’s REALLY cold” going for a walk gear. We decided to go for a walk in the woods. Wait, L wanted to get together, I asked what she wanted to do, she suggested a walk, and I said “let’s go to the woods”. Then I invited D because she’s another active friend who’s fearlessly unafraid of the cold. Yes, that deserved a little repetition.

We were supposed to go to the NCC Greenbelt Bird Sanctuary, but, um, I couldn’t find the parking lot. For those of you who know me, that’s very very unusual. Other than one shameful time (also in winter) when I got my friend Pam and I lost in the woods, on snowshoes, without cellphones or water, I’m usually VERY good about knowing where things are. I research, I memorize the maps, I know where we’re going. This time, despite knowing where I thought the parking lot should be, it wasn’t there. I was perturbed. Enough said.

Regardless, there are two other parking lots on that road for different trails, and we hopped out at one and bopped onto the trail. The map at the trailhead indicated that we could do a loop or an out and back. I figured we should follow the loop because at least we had a vague idea of how long the route was (around 3 to 3.5 kms).

Have you ever hiked in loose snow before? It’s kind of like hiking in sand, but a lot colder. And with that added risk of hypothermia, it’s got a bit more edge to the experience.

In the above picture, you can see L’s boot. She’s walking to the side of the cross country ski trails, which D is walking right through. L is following trail protocol, D is not. You should know that walking to the side of the ski trail is so hard that we all ended up single file within about two minutes of this photo being taken. Screw the pristine trail. It’s like climbing uphill through a vat of shifting molasses. I’m just sayin’.

There were a lot of people skiing today. The sun was out, the sky was blue (reflected on the snow in this photo), and the wind in most of the woods wasn’t too bad. It felt like it was about -12C instead of the -17C in town. American friends: that’s cold. This was one of the few parts of the trail where you could walk on a packed part in between the skiiers.

The woods were lovely, albeit sorely lacking in wildlife. Perhaps that’s because we were chattering and making enough noise to scare them off. We came across a couple standing still in the woods, staring at this scene. Seriously. Do you see anything here other than trees? I thought not. What on earth were they staring at?

A good time was had by all. There’s a lot to be said for hanging out in the woods. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful, you say “hello” to every fellow traveller down your path, and when you’re done you have hot chocolate and gossip some more.

I was too tired to play squash this morning, but hiking this afternoon worked up a good sweat and made up for it. Also, I don’t hurt. Did I mention that? It’s nice to not groan during a physical activity. You know what else is nice? Hiking with friends. There’s a camaraderie in being in the wilderness together, plus these friends are special: they know how hard I’ve been working to get fit, and they’ve had their own struggles and successes. They’re a great support network. They’re the type of friends with whom you don’t really have to talk.

We have resolved to do this again, and I’m really looking forward to it.

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