Winter Walking

Filed under: @ 3:38 pm

Yes, I do walk all winter. We have a treadmill in the basement, but it’s elderly and given to overheating which makes it shut off suddenly. It’s noisy, VERY noisy, and I’m not very tolerant of the consistent rattle-bang anymore. And when running it’s a source of constant fascination to the kittens. The last time I was walking on the treadmill I had just gotten up to a decent speed when Pogo decided to leap off of the windowsill to try and catch the moving belt, landed on the deck behind me and got shot off the back of the treadmill to slam against the wall behind us.
On the whole walking outdoors seems a lot safer.

And a lot more pleasant. I don’t like to walk when it’s pouring rain, but if it starts raining when I’m out walking.. Oh well.
But any other sort of weather is pleasant and each has its own certain charm.
Walking after it’s frozen? Fantastic. I love seeing the ice crystals in the dirt and since there are two or three small streams on my walking route it’s always fun to see whether or not they’re frozen over. I usually have to be extremely careful where I put my feet, but I’ve not ended up on my ass yet.
I’m not so much of a fanatic that I go out to do my power walking in the snow. My walking route is hilly and I don’t really trust most drivers to not skid out of control and mish me.
Windy? I like wind. I usually end up having to wear my sunglasses since I most of our weather comes from the west and I spend about the first third of my walk heading straight west. The wind makes my eyes tear so much that the protection of the sunglasses is a necessity and I get some truly strange looks from passing cars. Besides it’s fun to chase leaves and try to stomp them.
A week or so ago I was walking in a fog (and no smart ass comments about how fast I do, or do not, wake up in the morning, thank you very much). A damn cold fog, but at the hill at the top of my walking route I can see the water so I was watching the water lift off of the fog. When I got to the bottom of the hill, there was still enough ground fog to make things and people appear mysteriously. I like fog.

About halfway through my regular walking route there’s a small section of land that I can’t quite classify. Surrounded by untrammeled suburbia it’s…. Well, it’s wild. For lack of a better name I generally call it the walking path.
I’m neither naive nor romantic enough to think that this is a section of virgin forest, but it’s certainly undeveloped. The land is obviously owned by the city of Normandy Park, the path through it is maintained to a certain degree, and I see their trucks in the parking lot now and again. It’s this chunk of land that is the bottom of steep sided bowl which, this being western Washington, guarantees that about 90% of the year it is very wet It’s full of alder, maple, oak, and holly along with any type of native undergrowth you can imagine. In the spring it’s bursting with skunk cabbage (I like skunk cabbage — it’s pretty regardless of how it smells) and horsetail. In the summer it’s full of berries. Any surrounding houses are far enough away that they can’t be seen when there’s leaves on the trees. It’s far enough in from the road that unless something large passes by you can’t hear road noise. It’s quiet, it’s damp, it’s peaceful. I’ve seen opossum and raccoon, I’ve seen deer sign, and once I saw a coyote. Birds of all kinds, I saw a pileated woodpecker this morning. I purposely slow down when I walk through because I take such pleasure in just being outside.
I was discussing this with a checker at Trader Joe’s the other day. We agreed that there frequently isn’t enough outdoors in modern life and that, on the whole, we thought that the world would be a nicer place if more people spent more time outdoors. She’s a gardener, the whole discussion had started when she asked me if I thought the weather (gorgeous at that point) would hold long enough for her to get outside that afternoon. I replied that I hoped so because I still had a ton of bulbs that needed to go in the ground and we were off…

But if I’m nuts for walking three to five miles a day as often as I can in any type of weather, well, mostly it’s because I don’t get much other excuse to be outside in my daily life.
These are all photos that I shot in one trip around the walking path. There are some marvelous things to see when you walk outdoors. Even in suburbia.
Amanita muscaria
A-nother AmanitaFungus on the tree trunk
Yellow Fungus
Reishi Log
Reishi Log 2
Turkey Tail

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