All about Hoofbeats & Footprints

Oopsy Daisy !

Cascade Falls

Ah winter. Winter can be so much fun when there are below freezing temperatures for several days in a row. We had an arctic blast blow through Maryland this past weekend and following behind were arctic winds that blew for two solid days with wind gusts up to 40 mph.

Now I can handle cold temperatures, but the wind..oh boy do I hate the wind. It just cuts right through you and it didn’t help that the night of the Super Blood Wolf Moon was on Sunday night with finger freezing, bone chilling temperatures with wind chill factors that felt below zero.

Being a nature photographer our passion causes us to suffer. We suffer from extreme weather conditions, lack of sleep, food and restrooms. But we love it. It’s hard to stop us when something exciting is out there just calling our names. To help support our insanity, as yes it can be called nothing less, we have a lot of gear. And I’m not talking about camera gear, but clothing, footwear and more to protect us from the elements.

Even though the lighting was bright today, at least the winds had stopped and I was suffering a bit from cabin fever from staying tucked inside from the winds. Packing up my camera gear to capture frozen waterfalls in a local park I knew there would be ice on the ground. If not ice, at least the ground is frozen and safety is the most important thing.

The temperatures were below freezing, so I wanted to make sure I was well insulated. Wearing my hat, gloves and dressing in layers with a wind-breaking jacket, I chose my insulated waterproof winter hiking boots and warm Alpaca socks I was ready. But along with this was more important as ice can be bone breaking.

I use two different types of ice stabilizers on my shoes. One pair are Yak Trax which are good for more even surfaces and don’t cause damage to flooring. The next pair are hard core ice spikes and are very popular with ice-fishermen and Switzerland hikers. Kahtoola Microspikes footwear traction are amazing and all of my hiking buddies own a pair.

As I was going to visit Cascade Falls, the Kahtoolas made it onto the shoes and up the hill I went. Thing were going gloriously along the waterfall and it was truly beautiful and I had the place to myself.

Yep, and then it happened. I stepped on some ice near the waterfall that I knew was above some water. With all of the snow and rain we’ve had the waterfall was overflowing. And the ice…broke. My foot took a quick swim in the freezing waters as it went above my ankle boot. Yep, full nice dunk. Of course I took a gentle tumble along with the camera gear on a tripod. SAVE THE CAMERA !! Who cares about the fact my foot is soaking wet in cold water.

Actually my foot wasn’t instantly frigid as my insulated boot kept it warm. But I knew that frost bite or hypothermia could quickly set in and the last thing I wanted was my toes to be frost-bit. Once that happens it’s damaged for good. Like any hard core photographers of course I didn’t run off right away. I was just getting started for Pete’s Sake!

I hung around taking a few more pictures before heading back to my car which was parked close by. I had another pair of shoes in the car all was good with no damage done. Both the foot and camera gear appear to have survived unscathed.

Needless to say I’ve been shopping for an insulated winter rubber boot tonight and am narrowing it down to the Muck Company Arctic Ice Extreme Conditions Boot and of course still add the Kahtoola spikes for ice traction.

My favorite image from the day came from a small nearby stream. I hope you enjoy it as well. So stay warm, stay safe this winter.

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