Sledding - Hawaiin Style

Another three inches of snow fell last night and it continues today.  Rather than grump around the house all day, complaining about the long winter, I might as well get the sled out and have some fun.  I’ll get the sled down from the nail on the garage wall, sand the rust off the runners, and wax ’em down so the sled will carry me at break-neck speed down the hill.  Geez, this sled is heavy.  I’ll get my long johns on, an extra pair of socks, a few layers of shirts, my insulated hooded sweatshirt, and my parka.  Wish I had some 4-buckle overshoes.  I’ll get my LL Bean guaranteed-for-life boots on and wear mittens instead of gloves.  Geez, I can hardly move in all these clothes.  I’ll show Ol Man Winter he can’t deprive me of outdoor fun this time of year.  Wish I had a scarf to cover my face.

Its only a block to the steep hill in the park, I’m out for some exercise anyway.  The sled is heavy, but it pulls easily through the powdery snow.  I felt power over the elements when I shuffled through the deep snow and my feet didn’t get wet.  When I reach the base of the hill I start to get excited about the thrill of racing down the steep hill with reckless abandon, not knowing for sure where I’ll end up.   Boy, its a long way up this hill; the sled feels much heavier now.  The exhilaration of the trees racing by, the snow splashing up in your face (sure wish I had that scarf), and the unexpected bumps that might cause a wipe-out are all worth the long trek to the top of the hill.  Trudging up hill with my shoulders leaning into the hill, I figure this workout will keep me warm.  Why are my toes cold already?   I finally reach the top and my excitement peaks as I turn the sled to face downhill.  This is going to be so much fun, just like when I was a kid.  Hope I can fit on this thing.  Laying down is the safest and easiest way to control the sled; you can steer with your arms, see where you’re going, hear the runners cutting through the white blanket just inches below, and lean into the curves to get maximum performance out of the sled.  Geez, my legs are too long, I’ll be dragging my feet.   Sitting up is better anyway, especially if you’re a thrill seeker; only pansies lay down.  You really have to know what your’re doing to sit on a sled, steer with your feet, and keep your body over the center of the sled around curves so you don’t tip over.  I sit on the sled and scooch it forward until the front of the sled is cantilevered over edge of the hill while I lean back to counterbalance the forward weight.  Can I really do this? 

As I slowly lean forward my weight starts to shift to the front half of the sled and the front of the sled begins to dip down.  I’m anticipating the runners hitting the snow and the sled launching forward like it was shot out of a cannon, down the hill as I roll off the back like some cartoon character.  Slowly, ever so slowly, I lean forward, inch by inch.  I had remembered to collect the rope and sit on it so it wouldn’t get caught under the runners or snag a tree on the way down.   So I was prepared, I was ready for the ride of my life.  The sled finally became parallel with the slope of the hill, the runners came in full contact with the snow and down I went … about 3 feet and stopped.   This sucks, hope no one is looking.  I leaned forward and backward, trying to scooch the sled forward, all I needed was a little momentum, but the sled barely moved.  Too much snow, too much weight, and too much friction for the steel runners to be effective.  This would probably work with a running start and a bellyflop onto the sled like I did as a kid.  Yeah, that’s not going to happen. 

What I needed was a path, a track like the bob sledders have; the snow needed to be compacted or frozen so the runners could run on top of the ice/snow, not cut through it.  All I needed was about 1,200 feet of garden hose and an overnight watering.  Can’t wait to get that water bill. 

The best sledding occurs after a few trips down the hill and the path gets hard.  The path gets harder and harder as the sledders tromp down more snow each time they climb back up the hill.  You know its good when the climbers start losing their traction trying to get up the hill, and the sledders have a ball trying to use them as slalom poles.  Yeah, sure, but I’m all alone today.  I nursed the sled down hill, stomping and packing the snow with my feet as I went.  Sure is cold out here!  I knew that the second time down would be much better.  That won’t take much.  When I reached the bottom, I turned the sled around and started back up the hill.  I looked to the top of the hill.   I looked at the sled.  I looked at the mere block walk back home.  My toes are numb.  I could warm up by hauling that big heavy sled back up the hill, and then be rewarded with a thrilling ride down the hill.  That wouldn’t take too long.  Darn, now I have to go to the bathroom.

I turned towards home, pulling the sled behind me, happy that there was a rope on the sled so I didn’t have to carry it.  There’s a silver lining in every cloud.  My plan was to warm up a bit, have a cup of coffee, get rid of a cup of coffee, and then return to the slopes.  Now that I knew what was needed for a successful ride down the hill, I’d attack it with more vigor after I took a break.  My fingers are numb too.

It took ten minutes for me to shed the extra clothing that kept me so toasty-warm in the wonderful winter wonderland.  I really missed a scarf out there.   The coffee had an extra warm and soothing flavor, the fireplace was inviting, and the snowy scene outside was pretty.  Just give me a minute.  It took about two nano-seconds for me to decide where I was going to spend the rest of the day.   Just stay inside, watch the weather outside and day dream about the Hawaiin style of sledding.  Who needs a damn scarf?!


Thought for the day:  I was married by a judge.  I should have asked for a jury.   Groucho Marx

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