Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
1 Cor. 1:20-21
Yesterday afternoon, Ian and I rented a couple pairs of snowshoes from REI and, after a little bit of driving around lost, found our way to Callahan State Park. You may recall that we went for a walk there in September and found it a very nice, if buggy, park. Well, four months have gone by since we visited Callahan, and with all the snow on the ground, it seemed the perfect opportunity to try enjoying (rather than complaining about) the winter weather. I’m hoping that if I find a winter activity I enjoy, I won’t hate the cold so much.
Here we are before we left. We bundled up, but not too much, since snowshoeing can be pretty hard work. Fortunately both of us had good hats, scarves, and gloves, which proved crucial later in the walk.
What you can’t see is the howling wind that nearly froze our exposed skin right off. Even so, we put on our snowshoes, walked across the ice rink they called a parking lot, and thence to the snow. We mostly walked on pre-packed down trails, which made the going fairly easy, if awkward.
First Ian wanted to go look at the pond, so we headed over there, but along the way the wind brought us some remarkably poop-like smells. It smelled like standing in the middle of a cow pasture. Looking around, we quickly found the source of the stink:
Some gigantic farm implement had, apparently, been coming and spreading big piles of manure all over the snow. It smelled quite strong and contrasted ironically with the pristine whiteness of the snow. (I say “pristine whiteness,” but lots of dog owners take their pets here for exercise, so we also had to keep dodging piles of yellow snow and dog excrement that owners had just left lying in the middle of the trail where the dog left it. Gross.)
Poo aside, we made it to the pond, or at least I assume we did. We couldn’t easily tell the pond from the land, what with it being frozen and the snow covering everything. Here Ian stands on what we assumed was part of the pond.
We tried to walk across the pond, but it apparently had not frozen all the way, because Ian started breaking through the ice partway across. So we went back to solid ground (or what we figured was solid ground) and made our getaway into the trees, which protected us from wind and also seemed to see much less dog use. We tromped around for a while, and I tried to take pictures but my camera kept giving me an error message. Good thing I took the manure picture BEFORE that.
The trails were very pretty, with the snow and evergreen trees and sun shining through casting those blue shadows. The sun started going down while we were there, giving the light that romantic golden color and adding richness to the brown tree trunks and green pine needles. We hiked for about an hour, just wandering around and randomly choosing turns, enjoying each other and being outside. We didn’t get to talk much because the snow had a thick frozen layer on top that crunched loudly as we stepped on it, but we both enjoyed ourselves immensely. I expect we’ll do that more, since walking outside is always preferable to walking on a treadmill (for Ian), and I like going for walks in general. This is a summer activity we love, and it was fun to transplant it into a winter environment. Perhaps if we do it enough, we’ll buy a couple pairs of snowshoes — at a rental price of $25 a pair at REI, we’d only have to go 5 or 6 times to have amortized the cost of buying snowshoes outright.
After a while our fingers and faces started getting cold, so we went out to the berm and walked along that back to the parking lot. Getting to the berm we did some actual snowshoeing, pushing our way through the inch-thick crust of snow into the softer under-layer, then having to lift out and into the next step. That was lots of work, but when we got to the berm it provided lovely views, what with the sun setting and casting long shadows across the snow. It is also the highest point in the middle of some wide-open fields, and the wind really whipped up there. Despite the fun we had on our snowshoes, we were very happy to get back to the calm, warm air inside our car.
That was our fun snowshoeing adventure. Afterwards we tried to go to Cheesecake Factory, but it was a 40-minute wait even at 4:45. So we tried the other food places at Natick Mall (we had parked there for proximity to the Cheesecake Factory; it reminds me unpleasantly of Bell Square and seeing the gaggles of skinny, heavily-made up, rich teenage girls giggling and walking rudely into other people turned my stomach) but they all had waits of 40 minutes to an hour. Forget it! So we went to Acapulco’s in Sudbury, had no wait at all, and got fried ice cream for dessert — well worth it, even if I shivered all the way home.
I capped the evening off with a long, hot bath and Prairie Home Companion. It was a wonderful day.