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Phillygirl
12-28-2008, 06:25 PM
Goes to:

http://www.walking365.com/files/DNEDShoeKO2.jpg

So I got up early Friday morning and trekked up to the Appalachian Trail to continue with my attempt to complete the PA portion, day hike by day hike. It was a beautiful crisp day, about 32 degrees, no wind and no precipitation. We got to the parking lot at about 10:00 a.m. and were eagerly anticipating the day's hike. It was to be about 11 miles, but virtually no elevation gain, just plenty of rocks...it is Pennsylvania after all.

So after 3/10 of a mile on the highway we get to the trailhead. So far so good...except for two things: snow and ice. It was at least 3 inches deep. So deep that the rocks weren't an issue at all. But the trail was practically a skating rink. About 20 minutes into it my friend commented "you know it's inevitable that we're going to fall, sooner or later, right?" "Right." About 60 seconds later, I proved him right. It was a fun fall, though, as I managed to land on all fours. So we keep plugging, errr, skating along. It was slow going and lots of slipping and sliding. There was virtually no way to get a toe or a foothold anywhere. Lots of blowdowns, which helped a bit, as at least walking on the branches in the way helped alleviate some of the slippage. After about a mile, and crossing a power line path, which had no snow, just solid ice, my friend decided that it was simply impassable and we were going to have to turn back. Disappointing, as only once in about 9 years have we ever aborted a hike...again that had to do with ice on what is known as "The River of Rocks". So, we turn back and as I try to recross the power line breezeway, down I go again. Another good landing, although the Russian judge only gave me a 7. 1/2 a mile later, my friend went down. He's not nearly as graceful as I am, and instead of landing knee, knee, palm, palm; he lands splayed out on his belly, with his head dangerously close to one of the hundreds of portruding rocks on the ground. That is sobering, but we had already aborted and were almost back to the trailhead anyway.

So, what to do? It's still early in the day, and hotel check in isn't until about 2:00 or 3:00. So we stop at Cabela's...the mecca for all things outdoors. But without something specific in mind, we leave with nothing but the knowledge that we have killed enough time to make our post-hike stop at a pub at a respectable hour.

The weather reports are for highs in the 40's and up to 50 the next day, so we decide that we will make a bit of a late start the next day, so that the snow and ice have a chance to melt. We leave the hotel around 9:00, only to see that it is completely overcast and chances are the snow and ice aren't much different than they were the day before. It is then that we realize how stupid we had been the day before at Cabella's. They probably have some yak tracks or other such crampons to hook onto our boots. So we trek back out their to outdoor mega world. Our choices are limited. There is one pair of chain thingies to hook onto the boots (for almost $50) and one pair of Due North do-hickies. Except that an older gentleman is holding them in his hands. I check another wall, and there are two additional pairs. Even though we view them skeptically, and one doesn't even appear to be my size, I grab them both, just as the older gentleman wanders over to see if he can pick the store clean of them. But I have them. He brightens considerably at seeing them in my hands, and proceeds to tell me how great they are. Yeah, yeah, we'll see old-timer. They look like cheap Chinese imports, and while they may work just dandy for your neighbors who trekked around the reservoir...we're off to the Appalachian Trail!

Having no alternative, we buy them. I try them on my boots in the car, and while they are slightly oversized, since they appear to be made for everyday shoes, instead of hiking boots, they actually fit surprisingly well. My friend's fit his boots, although much more snugly.

We head up to the trailhead, still uncertain as to whether these $14 pieces of rubber and carbide will actually do any good. Surprisingly, they work perfectly. No more sliding, no more slipping, and no more graceful Phillygirl doing what appears to be a drunken interpretation of the Sugar Plum Fairy on the trail.

It was still slow going because each step required additional "harumph" both on the way down into the ice and back out again. So we only did about 6 miles. But they worked!! And after not being out on the trail in 6 months, it felt good to be back there. The temperature was perfect (about 34 degrees) and I was able to see a lot of deer tracks and rubbings. It was a bit nerve wracking as the trail crossing on State Game Lands and some idiot was hunting awfully close to the trail. My hiking outfit apparently makes me look awfully close to a white tailed deer (remind me not to buy the white fleece and khaki pants again), but at least my friend had on orange blaze and I stuck close by him, in case the hunter got any ideas.

But, as to the OP, the Due Norths definitely deserve the Great Gear Award so far. At under $15, one of the best must have pieces of equipment I've purchased in awhile.

Bubba Dawg
12-28-2008, 06:36 PM
I've never seen these. Interesting. I can also see a use for them in an urban environment when there is ice.

I have hiked trails when there were patches of ice that I could go around, but I also hit a place once (and turned around) when there was a sloped surface covered in a thick layer of ice and sloping down toward the edge of a steep embankment.

These things would also fit in your backpack and not take up much room.

I don't know what they are called either.

Phillygirl
12-28-2008, 06:41 PM
I've never seen these. Interesting. I can also see a use for them in an urban environment when there is ice.

I have hiked trails when there were patches of ice that I could go around, but I also hit a place once (and turned around) when there was a sloped surface covered in a thick layer of ice and sloping down toward the edge of a steep embankment.

These things would also fit in your backpack and not take up much room.

I don't know what they are called either.

These are called Due North Everyday Traction Aid. Honestly, I think they are more geared for urban than hiking, but in a pinch they did better than fine. I was shocked at how well they worked. Such a simple set up, but they gave you just the amount of traction you needed. Granted, by the hike back the ice had softened a bit, but they were still necessary. The snow and ice was so bad that walking around the trail did almost no good. They easily fit into the small outside pocket of my daypack.

Speedy
12-28-2008, 07:00 PM
These would be a nice addition to my zombie kit. This could allow me to rack up alot of kills. My M4 and Mini-14, plenty of full mags for both. Slap those doo-hickies on my boots. Drive my jeep out to a nice overpass then walk down the on-ramp and flush out a bunch of zombies. Run up the on-ramp and pick them off with headshots as they slip and slide.

SarasotaRepub
12-28-2008, 07:32 PM
Sounds like money very well spent Philly.

Glad neither of you got hurt by a bad fall.:)

Bubba Dawg
12-28-2008, 07:55 PM
These would be a nice addition to my zombie kit. This could allow me to rack up alot of kills. My M4 and Mini-14, plenty of full mags for both. Slap those doo-hickies on my boots. Drive my jeep out to a nice overpass then walk down the on-ramp and flush out a bunch of zombies. Run up the on-ramp and pick them off with headshots as they slip and slide.

Great tactical application for these Speedy. I like dual purpose equipment. It's hard enough to fit all I need in the way of regular gear in a pack. Add the zombie contingency gear and it can really weigh you down.

Bubba Dawg
12-28-2008, 07:58 PM
Sounds like money very well spent Philly.

Glad neither of you got hurt by a bad fall.:)

Okay. Philly had a fall. In Pennsylvania.

There was an earthquake. In Pennsylvania.

She claims to have been nowhere near the epicenter.
Not that her falls register on the richter scale or anything, but there was ice. The ground was hard.

I'm just askin'.....

Phillygirl
12-28-2008, 08:00 PM
Okay. Philly had a fall. In Pennsylvania.

There was an earthquake. In Pennsylvania.

She claims to have been nowhere near the epicenter.
Not that her falls register on the richter scale or anything, but there was ice. The ground was hard.

I'm just askin'.....

:eek: :D

Just ask a few of our friends on here. They'll tell you that a fall by me would definitely be enough to rumble a mountain!!

Bubba Dawg
12-28-2008, 08:07 PM
:eek: :D

Just ask a few of our friends on here. They'll tell you that a fall by me would definitely be enough to rumble a mountain!!

I hear you're remarkably light on your feet. :D

Phillygirl
12-28-2008, 08:08 PM
I hear you're remarkably light on your feet. :D

That's the word on the street!! :D

Bubba Dawg
12-28-2008, 08:29 PM
My falls are epic. The sudden stumble. The initial pitch forward, feet slipping and sliding. Usually a full or partial spin is involved. The final precipitous pitch forward with my backpack now riding the back of my head and driving my face with alarming rapidity into the ground. Then the sound of impact with the ground and the ensuing rolling and tumbling until I am finally at rest.

I don't mind saying,when it comes to falling on the trail, I am a Legend. :cool:

Jumpy
12-28-2008, 09:06 PM
What a great idea! Will you wear those things on all hikes, to give you better footing? Or is it just a winter weather thing?

Speedy
12-28-2008, 09:11 PM
My falls are quite epic also!

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y236/speed_addiction/wipeout.jpg

Bubba Dawg
12-28-2008, 09:13 PM
What a great idea! Will you wear those things on all hikes, to give you better footing? Or is it just a winter weather thing?

Just in winter. They're for ice. I don't care how good your boots are, they won't work on ice. No traction.

These are just to get a little grip on ice. For really heavy duty ice, you would use crampons. Most hiking in the east you don't get into that. In the Rockies and out west, I'm sure crampons would be a part of winter gear. Thing is, out there in winter it may be too much snow and ice to 'hike' so you get more into mountaineering stuff.

Bubba Dawg
12-28-2008, 09:15 PM
My falls are quite epic also!

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y236/speed_addiction/wipeout.jpg

Nice. Thing is, yours are probably over pretty quickly (except for the slide). Mine just go on and on. At least it seems that way.

Speedy
12-28-2008, 09:27 PM
Nice. Thing is, yours are probably over pretty quickly (except for the slide). Mine just go on and on. At least it seems that way.

Well, when they finally happen they are over pretty quickly, but sadly you can see them coming from way off. First you overshoot your line on the turn, you brake and you feel the ass end of the bike start to go around. You let off the brake to straighten it up, now you are going WAY wide. Lean it over with your knee sliding on the track, but you are still going to fast for the line you are in, so you lean some more. You feel some grinding as the pegs are now scraping the asphalt. But there is some hope, you think that if you lean just a little more you may save it. So you go for it, just a little more lean. But the bike is already at it's limit, that little bit of extra lean levers up the rear wheel and down it goes!

Then you can see ground, sky, ground, sky, ground, sky with an occassional flash of color as other bikes zip by trying to avoid running over you.

Bubba Dawg
12-28-2008, 09:41 PM
Well, when they finally happen they are over pretty quickly, but sadly you can see them coming from way off. First you overshoot your line on the turn, you brake and you feel the ass end of the bike start to go around. You let off the brake to straighten it up, now you are going WAY wide. Lean it over with your knee sliding on the track, but you are still going to fast for the line you are in, so you lean some more. You feel some grinding as the pegs are now scraping the asphalt. But there is some hope, you think that if you lean just a little more you may save it. So you go for it, just a little more lean. But the bike is already at it's limit, that little bit of extra lean levers up the rear wheel and down it goes!

Then you can see ground, sky, ground, sky, ground, sky with an occassional flash of color as other bikes zip by trying to avoid running over you.

I was never a road rider but I will never forget the sound of gravel on my helmet as I slid across it. Amazing really, how loud it is.

RobJohnson
12-29-2008, 01:34 AM
Who needs hotels?

Couch Surfing (http://www.nbcchicago.com/around_town/the_scene/36752104.html)

Glad no one was hurt, ice scares me.

Constitutionally Speaking
12-29-2008, 06:19 AM
I've never seen these. Interesting. I can also see a use for them in an urban environment when there is ice.

I have hiked trails when there were patches of ice that I could go around, but I also hit a place once (and turned around) when there was a sloped surface covered in a thick layer of ice and sloping down toward the edge of a steep embankment.

These things would also fit in your backpack and not take up much room.

I don't know what they are called either.


We use something similar here when treking on the lake while ice fishing. They are quite effective.

Phillygirl
12-29-2008, 07:56 AM
What a great idea! Will you wear those things on all hikes, to give you better footing? Or is it just a winter weather thing?

Bubba is right...just an ice thing. If it's just snow I wouldn't use them. But the ice you definitely need something. I don't think we would have made the hike on day 2 without them. On the way back the ice had softened a bit and we might have been able to do it, but it still would have been slippery, if not lethal.

Constitutionally Speaking
12-29-2008, 08:26 AM
Bubba is right...just an ice thing. If it's just snow I wouldn't use them. But the ice you definitely need something. I don't think we would have made the hike on day 2 without them. On the way back the ice had softened a bit and we might have been able to do it, but it still would have been slippery, if not lethal.

Actually, melting ice is MUCH more treacherous than "cold" ice. Ice is slippery because the pressure of a foot (or whatever) creates a very thin layer of water and that is actually what you slip on. With melting ice, that layer of water is already provided - and in larger quantities.

Constitutionally Speaking
12-29-2008, 08:51 AM
Looking this subject up, it seems I may have been wrong as to the pressure part - at least this theory is not 100% of the answer.

It seems it is quite the scientific mystery!!! Who would have thought!??

http://www.lptms.u-psud.fr/membres/trizac/Ens/L3FIP/Ice.pdf

Phillygirl
12-29-2008, 10:03 AM
Interesting stuff, Constitutionally.

Bubba Dawg
12-29-2008, 08:53 PM
We don't get ice on our highways that much, but I can say that driving on snow is no big deal, driving on ice is very tricky, but driving on ice where there is surface liquid moisture is damned near impossible.

That stuff its slicker than snot on a doorknob. (gratuitous disgusting bucolic euphemism #6)