Yes it’s COLD here for those of you that are hearing of the Balkan freeze. When I walk to work in the mornings, it’s frequently -20 c or about 2 F. I wear smart-wool long underwear (top & bottom), fleece over-shirt, fleece vest, jeans, wool socks, hiking boots, coat, gloves and scarf to work. But with no central heating, I’m usually wearing everything but the coat & gloves throughout the day.
Last weekend was even crazier. I was invited to go hiking in the mountains, and since I’d done that hike before in November I said, “Sure”. What I didn’t think about was the fact that I’d done the hike BEFORE one and a half meters of snow had fallen.
But Sunday morning I was geared up (I thought)
and went to meet the hiking club in the center of town. They took one look at me, whipped out a roll of packing tape and proceeded to tape the bottom of my jeans to the top of my hiking boots. I was a bit confused, because the snow in town was now off the roads, but who was I to argue? And off we went up the mountain.
It wasn’t long before I started to understand…Duh! 1) The mountains got much more snow than the town. 2) We were walking on roads that had neither been plowed nor driven over, so think deep powder. 3) We did about 22 km round trip–a little over 13.5 miles.
Now that kind of physical
effort does keep you warm and I was layered up well. That said, by the half-way mark snow had worked it’s way into my boots, melted, and my socks were literally sloshing. I even fell into a snow bank twice and one time needed 2 people to grab my hands and haul me out…I felt pretty ridiculous.
Most embarrassing, and hence the title of ‘crazy success’ is that this endeavor was written up in the National Newspaper. “Peace Corps Volunteer Joins Hiking Club” and started with the headline, “Only the most experienced hikers dared to brave the cold for the traditional
mountain hike, but that didn’t stop Peace Corps Volunteer Linda Reynolds.” (or something like that…remember I’m still struggling with the language.) The article ended with a quote (from ME) saying I’d fallen several times, and since I didn’t give an interview I don’t know how they got a quote. But beyond
being embarrassing, it was well-meant. (Maybe they were as surprised as I was that I survived.)
The very next week another article in the National Newspaper detailed my new project I’m working on for the Scouts. Again, a quote without an interview, but very complimentary. http://www.dnevnik.com.mk/?ItemID=43465D6A3107CB469749B66166B8D48C One of the people in the
PC office teased me about not having to worry what I’m up to, they just have to open the newspaper. I honestly have not sought any of this attention despite the excellent training in my former corporate life regarding the value of good PR. I suppose in a town of 15,000 and a country of 2.2mm (the size of Tampa/Clearwater/St. Pete) these kinds of things are interesting…but it gives you an idea of my somewhat ‘celebrity’ status and the attention I seem to get for doing nothing more than go for a hike.