Step Away from the Keyboard
Did TUCKER HOTTES make it to the mountain yet?
This winter is not terrible — yet
I spent the weekend on removal duty up at my mom’s place in the wilds of northern New Jersey. I had to remove the elaborate lighting display I had spent so much time crafting what seems like a mere few weeks ago.
Along with the ladder-climbing, I tackled the long, icy driveway. Even though we had warmer weather last week through the weekend, the snowpack from storms a couple weeks ago was lingering and causing driveway ascension issues. Against my better judgment, I picked up an old metal shovel and got to work, chipping away at the ice one little section at a time.
I initially thought the warmth would be an ally, but halfway down the ridiculously steep driveway and drenched in sweat, it was clear the temperature hadn’t begun to affect the icy bottom layer that was all but glued to the surface. It was the kind of grueling, back-breaking work that makes you imagine oppressive, depressingly chanted music punctuated with the sound of lashing whips. I powered through it, and finally when I could barely stand straight any more, I had cleared a reasonable amount of blacktop to declare myself finished. Sunday, the temperature rose slightly again, and by the end of the day, the few spots I had left were almost completely clear.
Three days later, it snowed again.
Much like washing your car pretty much guarantees a rain storm in the summer, my traveling an hour and a half to manually shovel a driveway that’s generally too steep for plow service usually precedes a swing in weather to dump more snow. I’m not sure who’s in on the cosmic joke, but I’m sure not laughing.
With the snow, though, it reminds me that we’re having a “not terrible” winter from a winter sports perspective. Several friends have already hit the slopes throughout the region, and I’m thinking about my column vowing to get my gear ready and get out there myself. I’ve been slacking, truth be told, but it looks like we may yet have a long season ahead of us. Regardless, I’ll be getting my stuff ready soon and putting it somewhere prominent in the house to guilt me into getting off my ass and heading to a mountain.
I’m also taking some time to organize some other gear while wishing for warmer days spent on the river or in the woods. Sure, some intrepid folks are out on the water fishing year-round, and I’ve done a fair share of cold-weather camping, but those are activities I prefer to put on hold until I’m not at risk of extremities turning blue. As I was organizing fly boxes, I was tempted once again to consider a fly-tying class — local outfitters like A&G in Dickson City offer free group sessions weekly — but ultimately decided I need at least one season off from diving into new hobbies. Maybe next winter I’ll get more familiar with tiny hooks, spools of thread, and shiny beads. This year, I’m just trying to get through while indulging the activities I have and trying not to go broke so I can enjoy the rest of the 2013 outdoors.