Saturday, I had it made in the shade.
After years of hitting the winter woods and immersing in bone-cracking cold, I got myself a pop-up hunting blind and a propane heater. Oh my. I used to survive 2 hours before the pain became unbearable, and I would walk to warm. With this contraption, I did 10 hours in below freezing temperatures. Cozy!
Here was my morning view.
Here was my afternoon view after relocating. It gave me a great vista to watch a gentle snow settle in. Pretty, right?
Actually, it turned out to be a horror. It was cold enough to stick, but warm enough to clump and become really slippery. Nasty. I fell at least three times just hauling (or attempting to haul) my gear up to the cabin. (Note: pay special attention to up.)
Our cabin is about 200 feet vertically from the road below. It's a windy trip up. Some of it is steep. So steep that it is nearly impossible to walk it without resting at least once.
It was dark by the time I packed the cabin and prepped it for winter. Now came the exhilarating task of navigating a 9,000 pound truck back down to the road. (That's 4,082 kilograms for you modern people.) Let me say that pickup trucks make awesome snowboards. Who knew?
With each bit of descent, I lost control and slid. I managed to get the thing stopped when it flattened out again. Luckily, the tire tracks are pressed in, so I didn't slide down the mountainside. Then, I reached the really steep part. Holy hell. I stared down that big run with a curve in the middle. I was 96% of the way to panic.
I knew I was going to lose control big time. No question. I knew I was not going to make it in one piece. At best, I would smash into a tree. At worst, the truck would go over the side and wedge into the trees. The snow was falling in the headlights, illuminating a strange halo. I'd never faced such a dire situation on the mountain before.
I had a choice--leave the truck there and spend an un-planned for and un-equipped night and hope for warmer weather on Sunday, or try something else. Since the snow wasn't too deep, I used my feet to scrape out both tire tracks for about 100 to 150 yards down. (Not doing the metric conversion on that one.) It took me about 45 minutes, and I fell at least 10 times. Under the snow was mud and wet leaves. Oh yeah.
Once the tracks were prepared, I sloooooowly lowered myself down. The contact with the dirt and stone did the trick. No wild careening into a maple. No slalom into a watery ravine. The rest of the way was slippery, but without that incline, it was manageable. I wanted to kiss the road at the bottom, but that was snow covered too. I had a long, treacherous haul home.
But I made it. Whew.
Moral of the story: when the flakes start sticking, move the truck down!!