Sunday, March 09, 2008
I Am Returned
Not dead, but not for lack of trying.
Had a most restorative break...provided you, like I, get restored by topping out at 75 mph on a snowmobile. My wife is a huge skier, has been for decades. I, personally, can't stand it. I don't like careening down a mountain with neither steering nor brakes. And I don't like the people—not the people themselves, just the amount of them. Hundreds of them, all doing the same thing at the same time. Kind of like snow lemmings. I understand why they do it; the speed, the rush. I just don't like the method or the environment.
But for most of the four days, I didn't see anyone but the nine others in my traveling party. We were alone in some of the most beautiful wilderness in the country. And that's the only reason I'll freeze my balls off: solitude.
We rode more than 350 miles in those four days. Some of the trails were tight, twisting little paths through pine forests, while others were long, flat, straightaways, like my favorite, called "Piston Alley." And considering that I hadn't been on a sled in eight years, I did rather well. Kept up with my fellow drivers and, for the most part, kept up with our ninja-savant guides...until the last day, about five miles from our final destination. I was "on the leader," carving the turns and blazing the straight-shots, until I followed him over a rise, and was surprised by a 90-degree turn. Which I didn't make.
I plowed my sled over the lip, into a ditch, and up against a tree, at about 40 mph. Through the visor of my helmet, I saw branches and then snow. I never blacked out, but I gave it a moment before I tried to move. Arms first, then legs. Nothing in pain, I rolled over and clawed my way back up onto the trail, and looked down at what could've been the site of an icy disaster. But wasn't.
So I hopped back on my still-functioning snowmobile (it just had some miraculously minor cosmetic damage) and drove it back to our base lodge, comfortable in the knowledge that after 36 years of never breaking a bone, never enduring a sprain, never spending a night in a hospital...I am still invulnerable.
at 10:02 PM