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Cold Purple Toes

Posted Oct 26 2011 12:01pm
October 26, 2011 | By derrick

Such a beautiful color I wear upon my skin
And a perfect shade of purple on a flower permanent
- pop evil

It’s getting cold.  Day 19 down and some 40ish miles to go.  Well, I shouldn’t say it’s cold exactly, it’s not “winter paddling purple toes cold”. It’s that slowly seeping sort of cold that sneaks up on you over time.  In fact, today I re-learned an old lesson about dealing with cold weather paddling.  Keeping your feet warm can be tricky, and it’s not always about the gear. 

Of course I’m wearing Kokatat Whirlpool bibs with the sewn in socks. My feet don’t get wet.  Underneath I wear a nice thick pair of merino wool socks. Over the top I’ve got my fun multi-color water-shoes. But here’s the deal; When you start adding layers, you also start fitting into your kayak a little more snugly. That tighter fit can cause your feet to press harder on the peddles, restrict movement and as a result you can find your toes getting colder, quicker.  Well, I do anyway.  The trick is to readjust your peddles. Give yourself a bit of room. Having your kayak set up to fit you perfectly in your summer attire then putting on your winter gear is something like gaining 10lbs and trying to put on your favorite pair of tight jeans.  It just doesn’t work well. You might get ‘em on, but boy it ain’t comfortable!  (We won’t talk about muffin tops here!!)  In the same way, you may find your summer boat fit isn’t quite as fun once you pack on a few more layers of clothing either.

On a related note, another way you’ll keep your feet warmer is to peddle.  The regular press and release of your feet against the peddles will also help keep the blood flowing.  Of course, that’s just part of a good forward stroke so you’re doing that already… right?

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