Ah yes, April. The dead of winter.
What the shit, Calgary?
Also, it’s supposed to get to like 50 degrees tomorrow, so guess what’s going to happen to all that snow? Time for sidewalk flooding!
Yesterday: 12+ inches of snow
Today: -33℉ temperatures
Fun Canadian winter is fun.
That’s what I’m going to start calling my winter walks, because holy balls it’s been cold out there.
But you know what? You get used to it. When you spend 4+ hours out in nonsense temperatures (negative Fahrenheits) you do adapt.
Ha, I remember when I thought 1℉ was obscenely cold. Now that’s a completely tolerable and relatively warm walking temperature!
My limit seems to be -22℉. That’s when the frostbite starts. Though I guess I was only out in that for about 45 minutes, so I suspect that slightly warmer temperatures are just as bad if I’m out in them for longer.
I GUESS WE’LL HAVE TO FIND OUT!
(You should all know by now that I have zero common sense.)
Oh, the weather outside is freezing
And the sun’s warmth is deceiving
And my only thought as I go
Is “FUCK I’M COLD, FUCK I’M COLD, FUCK I’M COLD”
This song brought to you by -12℉ wind chill and my poor decision-making skills.
Me: *takes a grand total of fewer than 25 pictures on a 7-day cruise to Alaska*
Me: *goes to Mount Rushmore for the first and probably only time and takes approximately 30 pictures*
Me: *sees a weird cloud formation. Takes 50+ pictures of it*
But in my defense, it was a pretty weird cloud formation (these are the two good pictures, haha).
Edit: these are Kelvin-Helmholtz wave clouds, also known as billows or fluctus. They are very short-lived clouds (the ones I saw lasted less than five or so minutes) that form when two different layers of air—one moving faster than the other—meet horizontally.
Today I’m going to give you my thoroughly subjective and only partially thought through ranking of different walking weather conditions.
Because that’s the kind of person I am.
When I’m walking, four main things I consider are 1) sky conditions, 2) active weather conditions (snow, rain, etc.), and 3) ground conditions, and, of course, 4) temperature. Obviously I won’t be touching on every conceivable combination of these things, ‘cause that would take forever and some things (like 90+ temps and snowy sidewalks) don’t even go together. So I’ll just do each of the four components on their own because that’s easiest.
SO HERE WE GO! Best to worst for each.
Clouds are ideal when walking. The sun doesn’t get in your eyes and there’s less skin damage going on compared to full sunlight.
Walking in fog is cool. The only downside is that this usually correlates with colder weather.
Sun is…okay. It’s much more enjoyable in winter when it’s cold outside, but in the summer it blows because you need sunscreen and it exacerbates the heat.
Dark (early morning or late night)
Lack of visibility isn’t great.
Murdering my lungs isn’t great.
Active Weather Conditions
Is the air dead outside? GREAT! Let’s go for a walk.
I actually really enjoy walking when it’s snowing its brains out outside. I think I mentioned this in a blog a week or so ago. It makes me feel like I’m trekking through the Antarctic.
Light snow is okay, too. Just not as fun.
I’ve never liked walking in the wind, no matter what temperature it is. If I’m walking into the wind, I think I change my stride a little bit, ‘cause it always hurts my leg more than it should.
Light Snow + Wind
The snow gets everywhere and it’s hard to keep it out of my ears/eyes/soul.
Heavy Snow + Wind
The snow gets everywhere and it’s hard to keep it out of my ears/eyes/soul, BUT I’m Antarctic Trekking™ so it makes me feel like a badass.
Luckily I haven’t walked in hail too many times, but it is a weather condition I’ve dealt with, so here it is.
The only reason this is as high on the list as it is is due to the fact that “heavy rain” for Calgary usually only happens in the hot summer and only for about 10 minutes at a time. Torrential downpour-style. It’s fun.
Heavy Rain + Wind
Light Rain + Wind
GOD, NO. You want to make me miserable? Make me walk all day in rain when it’s windy.
Depending on how wet the pavement is, my shoes have a tendency to give a little bit of a slip with my step, so that’s not too great.
I like plowing through loose snow, but only if it’s warm enough that my toes don’t freeze.
Packed snow is okay. I can usually go decently fast over it without the fear of slipping.
Packed Snow Over Ice
A little bit more dangerous, but usually the snow is “sticky” enough that the ice below is not an issue.
Slush is SO FRUSTRATING. I want to go fast through it but there’s zero traction and my feet are soaking wet by the time I’m done with my walk.
DANGER, WILL ROBINSON
Loose Snow Over Ice
“I can’t see the ice. Oh never mind, I FOUND IT WITH MY FACE”
60℉ – 70℉
This is pretty much the ideal walking temperature. Don’t need a jacket, but also don’t feel like I’m going to get heat stroke.
10℉ – 30℉
I like this temperature range because I know exactly what I need to wear to stay at a comfortable temperature (orange jacket and tights under my winter pants).
I really don’t mind walking in the heat too much. I’m super gross after 15 miles in that kind of temp, but it’s actually quite satisfying.
0℉ – 10℉
I still know exactly what I need to wear to stay at a comfortable temperature in this range, but I also worry more about my iPod surviving temps this low for 4+ hours.
40℉ – 50℉
Light jacket? Too cold! Heavy jacket? Too warm! NOTHING MAKES SENSE
I really worry about my iPod in these temps. I worry about my iPod more than I worry about my fingers/toes/nose getting frostbite, so you all know where my priorities are.
I grew up in Moscow, where summers are dry. I don’t like this wet summer nonsense.
Like…it’s not as if I haven’t walked in the rain before. It sucks but it’s manageable. But it was seriously raining this morning, so I took the day off.
Which I shouldn’t have, because the rain cleared up around 1 PM.
But leaving for a 30-mile walk at 1 PM means that I wouldn’t be home until like 7 PM at the earliest.
Which I didn’t want to do.
Sorry, I’m in a bad mood.
An Ode to Garbage Weather and My Recently Deceased Umbrella
(to the tune of this part of the Pirates of the Caribbean music)
What in the fuck
is all this rain
It’s like it’s GODDAMN VANCOUVER
I’m not a duck
I hate the wet
I just want to be dry.
I should get home
but I cannot
Cause I just LOST MY UMBRELLA
It caught the wind
It flew away
It’s gone forever, goodbye.
What the hell is all this, now? IT’S FREAKING APRIL, CALGARY, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS
It’s not even regular snow. It’s rain secretly disguised as giant-ass snowflakes that turn into rain as soon as they touch anything. Which means I had to look like a doofus with an umbrella in the snow while I did my walk this morning. It also meant that—ONCE AGAIN—the sidewalks were covered in slushy crap the entire morning/afternoon.
Not enjoyable at all.
And considering that walking is currently the only thing keeping me from having a complete mental breakdown as of late, that’s not a good thing.
Is it so cold again?
We’re 11 days away from spring and it’s -17 out there.
Canada, I am disappoint.
So remember that scene from Cool Runnings when the Jamaican team first lands in Calgary?
Yeah, it was kind of like that today. A little warmer, though!
Also, you want a workout? Keep a 4.70 mph walking pace in ankle-deep snow for 15 miles. FEEL THE BURN
(OR THE FROSTBITE, WHATEV FLOATS YOUR BOAT)
TIME TO WALK OUTSIDE ASLF;AJDSFLKAJSFLKAH
Edit: Yeah, it feels really good to be able to go outside and not feel like you’re going to die within 10 minutes. Also, I reached and surpassed this year’s walking mileage goal of 3,500! There’s (practically) no way I’m going to hit 4,000, but I’ll see how far I can go before the end of the year. Assuming this cold lets up.
YEAH THIS LOOKS ENJOYABLE
And yes, that’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius.
Okay, weather, I get it. You want to be cold. But you’ve consistently been in the -20s with wind chill for the past week. A bit of warmth would be great.
And by “warmth” I mean “temperatures that don’t cause frostbite within 10 minutes.”
So Calgary’s in a deep freeze but I still have about 75 more miles to walk to hit 3,500 for the year.
GONNA DO IT, FROSTBITE OR NOT!
Also, what in the hell year was my coat manufactured?
It also talks about using soap flakes to wash it.
Edit: apparently it was likely made around the late 1950s to early 1960s. If so, it is in super good condition for being that old.
IT’S ONLY OCTOBER, CALGARY, WHAT THE HELL.
I think it’s supposed to be a rough winter.
The sky was doing some weird stuff this evening, so have some crappy “Claudia’s not a photographer” pictures of it.
It’s Storm ‘n Hail time up here in Calgary! Don’t believe me? Check out these pictures/videos taken last Tuesday when a huge storm barreled through the southern part of the city.
I love that picture of the lightning behind the Calgary Tower.
I also love that #ABstorm is a hashtag, and one that gets used quite frequently at that.
You know what’s fun? Walking in wind warning-worthy weather.
Oh wait, that actually kind of sucks.
I’m pretty sure I’m more dust than human right now.
But I got 15.87 miles in, which puts me over 550 for the year. Snazzy.
That’s all. My eyes hurt and I’m sure I’ve ingested more than my daily recommended value of dust and debris.
And then I look at the weather there and think, “HAHA NOPE!”