Ellen insisted on keeping up James's exercise program. They took a long walk twice a day. Then came a snowstorm that left a heavy blanket on the ground, bringing a minor crisis. She later told of it:
I went to Brother Root and said, "Brother Root, have you a spare pair of boots?" "Yes," he answered.
"I should be glad to borrow them this morning," I said. Putting on the boots and starting out, I tracked a quarter of a mile [.41 kilometer] in the deep snow. On my return, I asked my husband to take a walk.
He said he could not go out in such weather.
"Oh, yes, you can," I replied."Surely you can step in my tracks."
He was a man who had great respect for women; and when he saw my tracks, he thought that if a woman could walk in that snow, he could. That morning he took his usual walk (MS 50, 1902 [see also 2SM, p. 307]).