I had a little taste of summer in the days following Christmas. It was unseasonably warm for Chicagoland, near 50 degrees on Friday and still above 40 degrees on Saturday, but it was what I did with it that felt like summer.
On Friday, I took the kayak off its place on the garage wall. It hadn’t moved in at least two months and had gathered dust. Wearing waders on my bottom, and multiple layers on top, I paddled the length of Wooster Lake and back into two feeder creeks that are weed choked in the summer. The quiet water in the creeks was splendid for paddling. Ducks were hidden back there walking on patches of skim ice. It was a smart way for them to survive hunting season. Using my paddle to test for water depth, I found a few deep holes back in a creek that I’ll want to visit with a fishing rod next spring. I didn’t stay out long. Fifty isn’t warm when you’re sitting atop water that is just above freezing.
Saturday, I bundled up again, and fitted my bike helmet over a ski mask type stocking cap. I rode the bicycle about 30 minutes, enough to work up a sweat under the winter coat I was wearing. Managing body temperature during vigorous winter exercise can be quite a challenge for me. While I was sweating my nose was feeling the wind chill from the speed of the bike.
April, and warm spring days, are a long way off. I’m going to work on a strategy for managing my body temp during paddling, biking, hiking, and cross country skiing this winter. Getting face, feet and core in sync is the challenge. I know that I should be cool when starting out, so that I’m not over-heated later, but proper judgments about the various parts of me are tricky. If you have any secrets, please share them.