COMMUNITY: Surviving a winter wonderland

Team 99 Counties conquers another

JR Ogden
Published: December 22 2013 | 5:00 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:09 am in
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Editor’s note: Daren Schumaker and Dennis Lee are attempting to run across Iowa’s 99 counties, raising money for the American Heart Association. They have completed 49 counties. Wayne County was No. 48. Next: Decatur.

By Daren Schumaker, community contributor

In the words of House Stark of Winterfell, “Winter is coming.”

For those who didn’t understand that “Game of Thrones” reference, all you need to know is that the days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping and the snow is falling.

Recently, the bitter cold has finally taken hold of the winter — encouraging us to stay inside and, at times, discouraging us from even stepping outside far enough to get the newspaper or check the mailbox. Winter is about to set in for good and we must be prepared if we are going to survive.

During the early morning hours of Dec. 8, we departed Walford and headed toward the heart of south central Iowa — Wayne County. It remained dark for the first part of our journey, the temperature had hardly climbed out of the single digits, and the wind — an east wind — gusted at between 10 and 15 miles per hour. Then it started ... the snow. Winter had arrived. Had we prepared appropriately?

Our journey began on a nearly snow-covered Highway 2 on the western edge of Wayne County as we charged up a slight incline into a stinging snow. The snow and wind was cold, blowing directly into our faces. We could barely keep our eyes open, and we feared valuable body parts might freeze and fall off. Ice formed on our faces as we held our course due east for 12 miles until we reached Corydon. We looped the town square before continuing east on Highway 2 toward Promise City. We thought the weather had dissipated, but the snow and wind reappeared and continued to torment us.

After a few loops around Promise City we headed east for the last time, arriving at our destination in 4:06:54 via a 27-mile route of slick and snow-covered roads.

All in all, we survived what were brutal conditions. In this case, we survived the physical difficulties that we encountered due to the mental preparations we had made. We had decided to not only start, but to finish. Don’t think that we didn’t want to quit, because we did, but sometimes the biggest struggles we face are fought in our minds rather than in our bodies.

If you want to survive this winter, and avoid hibernating like a bear, make preparations. Make plans to exercise. Pack your bag before you leave the house. Make arrangements to meet friends at the local mall for a group walk. Make mental preparations to defeat whatever this winter has to throw at you.

This is not Winterfell. You don’t have to worry about a winter that lasts for several years or an invasion of zombie-like White Walkers. You just have to worry about making preparations for your health during the cold winter months.

Inspiration through perspiration. Become active or make a donation to the American Heart Association to help fight heart disease.

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