Trail Treachery

By , January 24, 2011

We’ve been hit with another big thaw. Except for a few plugs of denser ice, like the round pried out of the rain barrel, the snow and ice disappeared from the homestead yards. When we left the homestead in the evening to go to dinner with neighbors, we expected to encounter standing water from the heavy rain, but we didn’t expect to encounter ice!

Up until yesterday, we had no ice to speak of on the entire trail, except for one bad seep above the cabin. Most of the standing ice had been covered by several inches of snow, its slickness neutralized.

However, when we arrived at the hill Aly has dubbed “‘Druther Not” (as in, “I’d ‘druther not haul a load up that!“) A straight, slanted ramp cut in the hillside, we discovered that our recent footprints had compressed and solidified into ice. Rain had made these patches perfectly smooth, and, more often than not, transparent.Considering the amount of ice I’ve walked on in my life, I’ve experienced blessedly few full-on, double-cheek pratfalls. When they come, they’re a nasty surprise! We carefully picked our way down the hill, grabbing onto trees where we could, gingerly avoiding the ice patches we could see. When I arrived at the bottom, I relaxed my guard for a second, and suddenly found myself sitting on my butt on the sodden trail.

Luckily, the backpack I carried kept me from hitting my back hard. The bottle of wine I carried was well padded by other gear, and didn’t break. I was unhurt, but not happy!

The rest of the way to our friends’ house we kept our eyes glued on our feet. Thank goodness we didn’t bump into the back end of a moose!

Much of the ice melted during our evening out, so we were able to make it home, around midnight, a bit more safely. That was convenient, as we’d saunaed, leaving us way too relaxed and rubber-legged to be wholly vigilant on the treacherous trail home.

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