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Despite the big chill, some seek exercise and inspiration in the frozen outdoors

A few hearty Baltimoreans engage in running, hockey, photography on a freezing day. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun video)

As biting cold gripped much of the East Coast, with wind chill warnings from Virginia to Vermont, most Marylanders kept the home fires burning Saturday and tried to stay warm. But a few venturesome Baltimoreans made their way into the freeze — in some cases, just to walk the dog, but also to maintain fitness regimens, to scout ice for pickup hockey, even to seek artistic inspiration.

David Doxzen, 29, and his two running companions, Annie Neurohr and Ali Thompson, both 27, met in Mount Vernon at 10 a.m., with the mercury at 12 degrees, for an 11-mile run to Canton and back. The friends, who wore three layers of thermal running apparel, hats and face coverings, made the return trip along the Inner Harbor before turning north into windy Light Street.

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They were cheerful despite harsh conditions.

“I pretty much can’t feel my face right now,” said Doxzen, who is training with Neurohr for the Boston Marathon. He’s been raising funds for Back On My Feet, the running program that supports people coming out of homelessness and recovering from an addiction. Doxzen went through the program in 2013, with running support from Thompson and Neurohr, and he will be running on behalf of Back On My Feet in April’s marathon.

“Training for Boston is pushing me to run in these crazy elements,” he said. “Running 11 miles along the harbor in freezing temperatures is a way of life I have come to love.”

“We’ve been running together for four years now,” said Neurohr, a physical therapist. “It would take more than a negative-4-degree wind chill to keep us apart.”

“If these two ask me to run with them, I don’t ask questions, I just show up,” said Thompson, also a physical therapist. “It was freezing, but we survived.”

The ice at the Pandora Ice Rink at the Inner Harbor was prime — hard and cold and bright under the sun — but by noon, the day’s first skater had not yet appeared.

Elsewhere, however, a few people could be found on local ice, braving the wind chill to take advantage of the relatively rare opportunity to skate or play some hockey.

At Lake Roland, where skating is prohibited, some visitors arrived to snap photographs of the ice. But friends Harrison Powell, 27, from Patterson Park, and Ian Magowan, 25, from Upper Fells Point, were eager to find a spot where they could skate and pass a puck between them.

They had driven to Carroll County in search of ice, following a map to two bodies of water they assumed would be frozen — Liberty Reservoir and Piney Run Reservoir. But dissatisfied with conditions there — too much snow on the ice, or the ice too “bumpy and chippy” — they found their way to Lake Roland in the early afternoon. They discovered a spot in a frozen cove and headed there with their hockey sticks, skates and gloves.

But within minutes, a park ranger had ordered them off the ice.

Meanwhile, the three lakes along Springlake Way in North Baltimore’s Homeland were frozen, inviting a pickup hockey game among a few friends, none of them on skates.

The big chill, which is expected to continue until Monday, appeared to keep a lot of Saturday walkers, runners and bikers off the streets of Baltimore. But, along Guilford Avenue, artist Monique Dove found inspiration in the clouds of steam rising from an opening in the pavement, near a construction site.

Dressed in boots, a Navy peacoat, heather gray pants and light gray fedora, Dove stood in the steam, taking several photographs with her cellphone. She said she liked the way the morning light reflected off the streets, white from winter salting, and through the steam. She said the steam reminded her of a scene from the 1997 film “Love Jones,” a romantic drama.

Dove is planning an exhibition of her photography, paintings and sketches next month.

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“I am an artist,” she said. “We do what we feel.” No matter how cold it gets.

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