|Not me, but you get the idea.|
No, I don't mean taking care of her. That's for another post. I'm talking about my job plowing what was said to be the longest ice-skating trail in the USA with a four-wheeler motorcycle. And also an oval, past the ice fisherman, near Queechee Gorge, VT.
Once I found a deer carcass that had been killed by wolves (and of course I made a circle around it with the plow, so that all the skaters could check it out). Yeah- it was like that. Do you often do that at your job? Me neither- now.
My eyes would sometimes freeze shut. Well, just once, really. But it's not that my eyeballs froze. Nothing that dramatic. Instead, my upper and lower eyelashes were freezing together. You see, the plow threw up snow constantly, along with a little bit of shaved ice. Add in the cold, some melting from the heat of my eyes, and the wind from a little speed and you've got icy eyebrows. The moto had heated grips though. Nice.
You might be asking yourself: was that safe? Well, I carried along the tools to drag myself out of the water, if that answers your question. And to check how thick the ice was before I went on it.
But none of that is why I'm writing this post. I'm writing because of the surroundings & the feelings.
The mountains around Lake Morey and that little lake in Queechee, especially in the snow, were nothing short of breathtaking. Trees all the way around. The Green Mountains directly (and by that I mean less than a mile away) at one side of the Lake. A small island in the middle of the Queechee lake. And snow on all of it.
But it is really the feeling of it all that stays with me. As a lifelong bicycle rider, the idea of pushing a throttle and having that amount of power available to me was something very new. The speed that could be attained for no effort whatsoever was addicting. Now, there was more going on than speed, of course. And did I mention all this was occurring on ice? You might think that would be a problem, but when that ice is very thick, and on a lake that is over a mile long and quite wide, the idea of sliding out is not nearly as frightening as it might be on, say, a tree lined country road. It does aesthetically ruin the trail a bit though. So: I would plow the intial trail rather slowly, if whatever had been plowed before had been totally buried in snow (I did have another job at the time- I wasn't out on the ice all day every day. Oh, yeah- and we had a newborn). Then I would overlap half the plow blade or less and it would throw the snow off the side of the trail. And the faster I'd go, the further it would throw that snow.
And so it is that I remember flying along on a warm and powerful four wheeler, snow flying everywhere, sliding out just slightly in the turns, and with no one around as far as the eye could see. Except the ice fishermen, and that was only on one of the two lakes.
The trails were for ice skaters. People were even nice enough to loan me some pretty bling new-tech ice skates. But I forget for years at a time about the skating, and I didn't do it much anyway, nor did I see people skating on the trails I made. For me it was about solitude, ice, and motorcycle riding.