There are very few wintertime activities that bring me real, actual joy (drinking beer and masturbation don’t really count as wintertime activities, those are year-rounders). I’ve tried cross country skiing, and I’ve ridden my fat bike on snow-covered gravel many a time, but any attempt to ride “groomed” trails has always left me thinking I should have done something else.
Some of that is the fault of Trump’s crap, climate change denying winters, or trail systems promoting themselves to be a bit more groomed than they actually are. And some of that is due to me fucking up tire pressures, gear choices, or a multitude of other cold weather blunders. I like to ride my bike, but if I have to think too much, I’ll either fuck it up or lose interest PDQ.
If you add in me being sick for two weeks and STILL dealing with an infected cut on my leg, I was just glad to get outside away from pills, rib cracking coughs, and thoughts of my leg being lopped off with a Civil War-era bone saw.
All of that brings me to Thursday and a beautiful snowshoe through the woods of the Sylvan Preserve. Snowshoeing is something I dig. It’s basically walking, with a tad more effort as you make tracks through deep snow. And that’s what I got to do on Thursday since we FINALLY got enough snow to make strapping on snowshoes a viable option for outdoor fun.
After getting Wifey off to Western PA for the next two weeks to care for her father undergoing shoulder surgery, and B-Man off to school, I headed to Sylvan with my camera and snowshoes.
I always dread when I pull in the lot and see another car. The Sylvan preserve isn’t all that big, I don’t like people all that much, and I dread the possibility of running into someone multiple times and dealing with all that drama (talking). It’s even worse when I pull in the lot, and the person is still in their car. What are they doing in there? Drinking? Masturbating? Ditching work?
As I pulled in the lot, there was a dude in his truck, sitting looking out the window smoking a cigarette. When I stepped out of my car, he happily greeted me and told me about the red tail hawks and crows he had been watching for the past TWO hours (seriously??). He had a southern drawl to his voice, punctuated with sounds of early morning inebriation, and a crap acoustic guitar laid on the front seat beside him.
He billed himself as being a senior citizen transplant from South Carolina, and a lifelong naturalist with a background in science. Aside from the slurring of his well-intentioned words, I have no reason to doubt him. Sometimes I like to pretend I’m a princess, and for the right money, I’ll be anything you want me to be (CASH ONLY!). So the dude is a guitar playing naturalist that likes his tea, that’s cool.
We talked for longer than I had hoped, and he regaled me with stories of how to attract eagles to your property (deer carcasses), what sort of birds he had seen, and his love of Washington D.C. (Wait, what?).
As he continued to talk about this bird and that squirrel, I strapped on my snowshoes, grabbed my camera, and made some small talk before he told me to “drive safe” (um, OK?), as I headed into the woods. I love a good eccentric person now and then, and God knows I can come off as a bit fucked up, but I just wanted to get my bum leg and butter filled lungs in the woods to blow the post-Jamaica stink off me.
Since our return from Jamaica, I feel like my life has been consumed with being sick, Wifey being sick, and worrying about the infection in my leg. So, it was awesome to be stomping through the deep snow, and actually doing something.
At times the walk was labored due to breaking through fresh snow, and I slipped and fell on one off-camber hill that may or may not have been captured on a game cam, but the walk was fun and much appreciated.
I got a few pics that I dug, and for the first time in a while I felt happy to be outside in the snow and cold. I won’t dare say it was as fun as jumping into pools of deep blue waters in a Jamaican river, but getting outside is always a good way to keep idle minds out of Bell Jars.