November 26, 2019

I am ready! Time to go!

There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

-Ranulph Fiennes


It’s been a cold rainy week. High winds have nearly made the trees bald, at least those that were ready to lose their leaves anyway. The temperatures have ranged between the low-thirties to the mid-fifties. Before I go to sleep at night, I look at the forecast on and come up with a plan to navigate our rail-trail walk. The rail-trail is my favorite for walking with Waldo because it is paved, I never have to worry about mud-puddles. Puddles, yes, mud-puddles, no – except those off the trail that Waldo gets into. And he avoids those pretty well.

But, because we’re out walking for at least a couple of hours, there are other considerations. There is no reason not to avoid the rain, if possible. Walks can be arranged around the wet hours, unless it’s raining all damn day. I also have to plan what to wear. This is complicated by many factors. If we walk in the morning, the temperature usually rises rapidly, so being dressed to be warm and comfortable at the beginning of our walk, when I haven’t yet warmed up, will mean I’m overdressed and hot at the end. Dressing in layers helps some, but then you have to carry what you take off. And if the wind is blowing, this not only effectively drops the temperature through wind-chill, it also bites right through your jacket. Forty-eight degrees in windless conditions is nothing like forty-eight degrees in a twelve-knot breeze, unless you’re wearing something that will block the wind. Like a rain suit. However, that means that your body’s ability to give off heat once you’re warmed up is also impaired. And it also makes you feel sweaty because sweat doesn’t evaporate through the moisture blocking material. Gloves, and a hat that will cover your ears, are really nice if it’s cold or wet or windy. Fortunately, if no longer needed, they can easily be stuffed in a pocket. Unless, of course, the only pockets they’ll fit into are those in your jacket which you want to take off. It’s all multifactorial and complicated.

I have years of experience using weather forecasts to plan activities. Much of pre-flighting a small plane trip involves carefully using weather forecasts to plan when and where to go. This typically involves more math than prepping for a rail-trail walk — calculating fuel needs, making sure runway lengths and the plane’s crosswind handling is adequate to the conditions, but you’re still looking at the same factors. Temperatures, winds, precipitation and so forth.

I also rode motorcycles for many years and have a lot of experience in making layered-clothing choices. Fortunately, my bike had saddlebags where I could put the layers I didn’t need. But still, it didn’t take me long to learn what temperatures would require what clothing and when I would need it.

Come to think of it, much of my life was in preparation for walking with Waldo on the rail-trail.

Waldo, on the other hand, has less need for weather forecasts. His preparations are more along the line of jumping, all four feet off the floor, in front of the door leading outside, walking over my shoes while I try to put them on and pouncing on my legs and the door (why in the world he thinks this will make our leaving happen quicker, I don’t know). He also trots around in small circles in front of the door, always in a clockwise direction, until I physically stop him so I can put on his Halti and leash. Once on our walk, his ritualistic preparations seem to have worked well. Hot or cold, wet or dry, he’s out there at the end of the leash, tail up and wagging, prancing gaily along, enjoying life. However, there are limits and soon I know I will have to get him some doggie boots for when it gets really cold and icy. He also has a doggy back pack that will double as a jacket that will keep him warm when it gets bad out.

Forecast tomorrow is mid-forties to fifty degrees, sunny, but windy, with speeds to 13 mph.

We’ll be ready.

I wanna see what is over here!

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