Friday, January 21, 2011

Yak Trax

There have been several more horror stories in the news this past week about Canadians vacationing in Mexico. We had our own scare with an incident in Mexico back in November. Each time a negative news story comes out it is quickly followed by reports saying Canadians are undaunted. We continue flocking to Mexican resorts in droves.

Are we as a people living North of 49 especially courageous? Or are we just stupid? Well, probably not any more than any other group of people. So what drives Canadians to take the risks associated with traveling to places that the Department of Foreign Affairs issues warnings about on a regular basis? It's quite simple. We're cold.

It is January. The days are short and the heating bills are high. There is no end in sight to shovelling snow off the driveway and scraping ice off the windshield. Personally I have mixed feelings about winter. As a knitter I love being able to wear my colourful hand knit wool sweaters, vests, socks, hats and mittens. Things on the knitting front would be bleak indeed if I lived in a place that was warm year round.

However, I am also a walker. There is no "up" side to winter if you are a walker. At least not one I have been able to find. I spend half the day mentally preparing to face the elements: snow, wind, ice, and sub-zero temperatures. I bundle up and go walk for 30 minutes, then come home and spend the rest of the day recovering.

The biggest problem with walking in the winter is the danger that lurks with each step I take. I have no problem hiking in the bush and risking the occasional bear encounter. But I absolutely do not want to fall  on the slippery sidewalks in our neighbourhood and break a bone. Two year ago I made a great discovery that has given me the confidence to trudge through the snow and ice. These odd looking contraptions are called Yak Trax.

They stretch over your shoes/boots like this.

These things are amazing! The traction I get with them allows me to walk on snow and ice without slowing down even a little bit. Plus they leave cool tracks in the snow.

I probably shouldn't admit this last part, but sometimes when I come full circle on my walk and join up with the path I was previously on I will look down and see some Yak Trax tracks in the snow and think to myself, "Oh, there's someone else with Yak Trax!" Then the realization hits me that I am that person. Which makes for at least one stupid Canadian.


  1. You are hilarious! Hey, I have Yak Trax,too, and somehow my children enjoy teasing me about them and think I'm a little old lady for wearing them. But, so be it, at least I won't be a little old lady with a broken bone!

  2. Even here on the mild island those come in handy - my friend has them for whenever it snows as our sidewalks are always treacherous for a few days then.
    Stay safe!

  3. I have the same ones! It means I *could* run in the snow without slipping.

    Not that I have yet.

  4. Canadians can't be daunted. =)

    My wife needs the trax badly. She's not good on slippery surfaces at all. I get paranoid about clearing our front sidewalk out to the driveway and her car. When it snows, I usually go out every hour and sweep snow off the walk so there's not even a trace compressed snow/ice in her path. If it's a really heavy snow, I can't do that. So when it stops, I shovel an area and then sweep it before I walk on it to keep from creating little patches of compressed snow/ice. The sun never hits our sidewalk during winter, so the ice would stay a while--and she really can't walk on it.

    It's 19F here today, which is cold for us. As for the tracks, you can't be 100% sure there wasn't another walker out there with you!

  5. Also a fan of the Yak Trax, usually get them on my boots the 1st of November and sometimes take them off early April. Right now we have major snow still and now with Pineapple Express blowing thru quite a bit of ice.

  6. @Aneta - I am not so much hilarious as pathetic!

    @kate - I guess more people have these than I had thought. I haven't noticed that many people wearing them here in Kamloops.

    @Kate - Does this mean you are not running?! I have to confess I don't use them to run either. Just to walk.

    @Ric - Now you have a great idea for a birthday gift for your wife!

    @Lynne - Yes, it is the Pineapple Express that causes the most trouble because it ices over everything. Your blog pictures of all your snow are quite impressive!

  7. Our Sports Authority was sold out, so I ordered 4 pairs today (one for my father-in-law) from a company called ScoutGear.

    Sorry about the choke, face-to-face I try to time things to keep that from happening. =)