Let me start this by announcing that subscriptions by email are going away sometime in the middle of this summer, so if you subscribe to any of my blogs, you will no longer be getting those cool emails when I post something. I have no idea if it will be replaced by something else - we'll have to see.
Now on to my post
Less than a week ago temperatures were reaching 0F or colder over night, but the longer days, they were getting into the 30sF and 40sF. For the last few nights, it's not been getting below freezing at night, so it has become time to start worrying about the boats. The goal for today was to go down and shovel out the last boat we pulled, which happened to be the lowest on the bank (easier to launch, you see)
Needless to say, it didn't go quite so simply.
We headed out knowing the snowmachine trail was going to be soft, but not too soft for the machine. Even going down our hill wasn't bad. Everything was going pretty much as expected all the way until after my husband dropped me off by the boats and headed on down to the river to turn around.
Herein things started to go bad
As soon as my husband hit the bottom of the ramp, soft snow to the side of the trail grabbed a ski and sucked him off the trail and onto his side. I was still putting on my snowshoes, but as soon as I got them on, I headed down to help him. That ramp is a mite steep and I knew it, but I hoped the claws on the bottom of my snowshoes would help. I also had my shovel to use as something of a crutch. That got me about three quarters of the way down when I slipped. I tried to jog ahead in hopes of keeping my feet under me. Needless to say, I sprawled on my face - not hard - I didn't hurt anything - just kinda humiliating - good for a laugh.
I helped dig the machine out enough to get it mostly upright while my husband unhooked the empty sled (we were going to pick up some firewood on the way back to the house). He dropped the hitch pin into the sled, but I didn't know that. While he was making the loop, I went to roll the sled off the trail so he could get by (bye bye hitch pin). Now he tells me. So, while he goes back to the house for the smaller machine (easier to haul around if needed), and a new hitch pin, I make like an archeologist and go scraping for the missing pin. I finally found it - yay! just as he was showing up again.
He comes down and almost does the same thing as last time, this time aiming directly at me though I was standing off the side of the trail behind where the sled was now. He didn't really get stuck, but he might have if he didn't have to stop. I get me and the sled farther out of the way, and he goes out to do the loop again, this time finding water, but he didn't get stuck in it. He stops at the top of the island so he has a better run at the ramp up off the river, so I push the sled to him so we can hook it up again. The hardest part of doing that was my snowshoes, the sled slid along just fine.
We get everything hooked up and he takes his run, and the crust - what there was of it - breaks out from under his machine and he gets stuck almost at the top of that ramp - damn!!!! We have to get that machine back down, turned around, and make another run after all our holes are filled in - sigh.
That nice little machine came sliding down that hill just fine after we lifted it out of it's hole. My husband's knee took some painful punishment, and my snowshoe punched down knocking me down almost behind it. I put my other foot on the machine to keep from getting run over, but I got pushed along a few feet anyway. I felt like a turtle on my back at that moment, but it was kinda funny. I just lay there for a few minutes catching my breath and trying to figure out what I could do to get my feet under me again. With my feet slightly higher than my shoulders, it took a little planning. That's the bad thing about snowshoes. I'm glad they were the little ones. I like those. I now have a new bruise on my back hip from when I ended up on the sled's hitch. No biggie, but both of us are getting pretty tired, and we still haven't even gotten to the chore we came down here to do.
We pulled the machine back until we ran out of help from gravity and out of oomph to pull with. Then my husband went to fill in holes while I packed a space wide enough to pull the machine around on.
Sigh - definitely running out of oomph.
We got the machine turned around - eternally grateful it was as little as it was - and then he made a run for the ramp without the sled - - - and made it, though it was a close one.
Next order of business was to go dig up a rope so we could pull the sled up.
We made our snowshoed way over to the boats, going the easy way, which required walking around the back end of our big boat, only to be reminded that there's not much ground behind that boat. No real problem, just shovel some snow into low spots and pack it down. Not bad really. Just running out of ju ju. We worked our way around to the rope we were after; it led from the boat we were going to shovel out to the front of the big boat. I got it all uncovered, but a part of it- about a foot or so - was frozen to the ground, so that rope wasn't going anywhere today. It's uncovered; the snow will melt that in no time at all.
We wended our way back to the snowmachine, and while I was catching my breath, my husband was taking off his snowshoes. As I was taking mine off, he decided to go after the sled and just push it up. It's not all that heavy, and it slides well. The issue is the hill. He gets it most of the way up the ramp, and I'm hurrying to get my shoes off so I can help. I have to dig my heel in, but we get it up, and then we get it hooked up - sigh - almost over.
Not so fast.
We have an almost switchback on our trail going up that hill, and guess what, he couldn't make the corner. I make my slow way up behind him and hold the brake while he pulls the front over back onto the trail and then the back of the sled over in the other direction. Then it's the rest of the way up the hill - sigh.
Because it was the little machine (and because I didn't want to walk another six steps), I decided I could ride in the sled, sitting on my snowshoes. It worked just fine.
As I sit here typing this, I feel like I'm about 100 years old. My legs are still stiff from the other day when I hiked down the trail in my snowboots to help my husband cut a tree off the trail - that was the firewood we picked up. Only four rounds and a few sticks - I didn't get there in time to help, and I've been stiff ever since.
Summer is looming - I really need to get into shape - sigh - not today. I've had enough exercise for one day.