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First barefoot walk of 2006

Posted Aug 28 2009 8:23pm
It's been a relatively mild winter this year up here in Toronto. With temperatures soaring up to 7 and 8°C at some points over the last couple of weeks, certainly unheard of in your average Canadian January. Unfortunately, I have been extremely busy with work and social engagementes since last November; which has limited tremendously my oportunities to go out and enjoy the "warm" temperatures in my bare feet. Excuses, excuses... I know!!

Finally, however, I had my big chance yesterday, Monday. It was about 4°C out there, the sky was mostly clouded but the sun peeked from time to time. I was feeling really cooped up after having a busy weekend and with a busy week quickly shaping up in front of me so I decided to take a hike to the bank, which is about 20 minutes away by foot -- the perfect distance to walk to, if you need a break...

Not really knowing what to expect out there, since wind and humidity can also play a big part on how "cold" it really is, added to the fact that my feet have been sheltered from the elements for a long time, I decided to wear my trusted birkenstock sandals to go for my walk. Sure enough, as soon as I stepped out, I thought "gosh! I should have worn gloves!". It was windy and a bit damp, so it felt much colder than 4 degrees. Nevertheless, I started walking friskly, trusting that the exercise would help me warm up... Sure enough, I felt much better after about 5 minutes. The wind had died down a bit and the sun was out for a bit from behind the clowds...

About 5 minutes away from the bank, while I was going trhough a quiet neighbourhood, I decided to test the ground and kicked my birkies off. The ground was damp and cold and soon I felt rather uncomfortable so, I decided to put the sandals back on and continue to my destination. I made it to the bank and my hands, feet and ears felt nice and warm from the brisk walk. I performed my transactions at the automatic teller, I noticed that a man and a woman, who were standing outside the ATM smoking, were looking at me and making comments to each other -- surely about how odd was it that I was wearing sandals and no socks in such temperatures! (funny how no one ever notices my lack of gloves or earmuffs in the winter). I kind of giggled to myself and started my walk back with a smile on my face (more like a smirk, I think).

As soon as I made past the curious smoking couple, I noticed that the sun was shining a bit more and that the sidewalks were a bit less damp than the ones I had tried before... So, once again, I kicked my birkies off and started walking barefoot towards home. It was still cold but not as bad as when I tried it first... So I decided to walk 2 blocks like that and see how I did after that...

To my surprise, the two blocks were shorter than I expected, and my feet were fine, so I decided to walk two more blocks and see what happened... Same thing after those 2 more blocks... Before I knew, I was about 2 blocks away from home so I decided to walk the rest of the way home. I made it fine... My feet were a bit tingly and tender from the debris and the cold sidewalks and I noticed some redness on my soles and a bit on the top of my feet, but I must say, it was a nice feeling overall.

I found particularly challenging a couple of spots: The underpass at Eglinton Avenue and The DVP, and the stretch of sidewalk on the just east of the DVP, on the south side of Eglinton. The reason was that those spots were very windy and damp so my feet felt a bit too cold there. Also, under the bridge, there was a good amount of debris: sand, salt, woodchips... which was a bit prickly under my "winter-tender" soles...

I'm not sure when my next chance for a barefoot winter outing will be... Surely, I hope it is soon since I want to start toughening up my soles again. I will be watching the thermometer closely and trying to find another excuse to make a barefoot excursion to the bank!

Barefoot Moe
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