Slip Slidin’ Away

Old school alert!!  Do you guys remember these?     

I loved getting the opportunity to get out in the snow and cold and ride one of these down a nice snow compacted hill when I was younger.  We used to do some crazy things like hooking our feet in the front of another sled while lying on our bellies on our own to make a chain of sleds careening out of anyone’s control down a closed roadway to cause our version of a 5 car pile-up.  It’s amazing that we didn’t break more bones, sprain more ankles or lose more teeth than we did.

Although…there was this one time, when I was lying face down on a sled and gliding down a small hill, a bump in the road really, when for some reason —be it a soft spot in the ice, a concealed rock or whatever – the sled suddenly stopped, but my smiling face catapulted forward bobsledding its way down the road.

Now you don’t often think about how sharp, cutting and grating ice and snow can be until you take a sliding face plant on an icy slope.  My upper lip swelled so large I could see it in my peripheral vision and I wondered if it wasn’t going to surpass my nose as the most prominent protruding feature of the my face.

Over the years, the scars have diminished, but I have not forgotten that feeling and as I’m preparing my winter gear and seeing the pictures coming back from those early hikers who are braving the snow and cold on the trail, I thought I might take a minute and share a couple things with you.

First, I recently purchased these Icetrekkers Diamond Grip ice cleats to help keep my feet from flying above my head on any icy slopes of the Appalachian.  I haven’t seen much conversation concerning cleats or crampons for the winter conditions that we may experience, but got to thinking about the possibilities of falling on my arse or worse yet, falling and breaking something that could end my hike early on.  I don’t want to take the risk of busting my buttcus or any other part of me and losing out on this opportunity.  I know the trekking poles will help, but I couldn’t resist the added assistance of additional traction.  They weigh in at 12 ounces for the pair and fit my Merrell boots quite well.

Secondly, I’m not so sure about carrying along these little snow baskets for my trekking poles.  I guess they could help if the snow was a few inches deep, but I can’t see that they would be much use at all in deeper (say over 8 inches) of snow.  While they’re weight is only about 2 ounces, I just don’t know if I want to bother with them.  Anybody have an opinion on these?


With just about 30 days to go until I start making my way to Georgia, the excitement and anxiety is building.  I find myself wondering just how much snow and cold I will end up facing and questioning just how well I will handle it.  I have to admit that I’ve been living a very comfortable life as a resident of the more southern states in our union and haven’t spent extended periods out in cold weather for quite some time now.

Still, there are a couple things that help to change my perspective and calm my fears when these feelings of doubt and trepidation begin to invade.  One is the memories of the serenity and beauty of a winter walk after freshly fallen snow.  The sacred silence of those surroundings calms my soul.   The other is the lyrics of Paul Simon’s Slip Slidin’ Away.  Somehow I find those words motivational—a warning to beware of allowing your dreams to slip away and I have no intention to allow a snowy slip to steal my destination away from me.

Slip slidin’ away, slip slidin’ away,

You know the nearer your destination

The more you’re slip slidin’ away.

(Paul Simon)

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