IMG_0430When I think of chaining up during winter, I think of chains for the tires of your car or truck.  When I lived in Lake Tahoe, there were many times during winter snow storms, when the local California Transportation agency that  required all 2-wheel drive vehicles to chain up to keep the roads clear of accidents.  These days I drive a 4-wheel drive Subaru equipped with snow tires, so that’s not something I need, but that doesn’t mean I don’t “chain up” anymore.

We are in the part of winter that we are getting warmer Chinook winds coming off the mountains, which causes snow to melt during the day.  But night time temperatures are still dipping down into the teens, meaning all that slush and melted snow freezes over solid.  Just making my way from the front door of our house to the car or even farther out to our shed can be treacherous, as I slip and slide, arms flailing, struggling to keep my balance.  Taking the dogs out for walks on our dirt roads is even more perilous with ice and snow frozen over for long stretches along the tree shaded roads.

A piece of winter equipment I have found invaluable during winter when trying to stay upright as I make my way around are traction devices, or what Bryon as coined as “ice grippers.”  Traction devices like Yak Trax or my preferred ones, are lifesavers during these times or ice and snow for general survival navigating my way around our neighborhood.  I’ve tried a few, and one of the things I’ve found important besides general gripping ability is actually staying hooked around one’s shoe or boot.  These devices have some sort of spring or chain-like metal design on the bottom to grip the ice.  Then the upper part is made of rubber that hooks around the top of your sole to keep it on.  Unfortunately, some designs don’t seem to stay on the boot as well as others.  And there’s nothing worse than hiking along to suddenly realize your right foot is sliding right out from underneath you.  After trying a couple of types out, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Kako Ice Trekkers Diamond Grip worked best for me.  While they are more expensive, they work great, and never come off my feet.

Living in a place where I love skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, the last thing I want is to slip and fall in my driveway, possibly injuring myself and missing out on all that skiing for the rest of the winter.  The forty dollars spent on my “chains” to insure the piece of mind of getting around is well worth it.