Thursday, February 14, 2008

How I Got to Work Today

Living in the mountains is a blessing that I am lucky to enjoy. Some days, however, can be a bit trying. Living in the woods is not like living in suburbia, where the car is kept in a heated garage. Let me tell you a story about how I got to work today:
First, a little background. Yesterday, I had 4 inches of snow, topped with an inch of rain that, since it was well below freezing, instantly coated with ice every little twig and branch in the woods. Then the north wind started to blow. The puddles of rain that had no place to flow froze solid.
So this morning, everthing is still frozen, it's 17 degrees, and the woods looks like a skating rink. Once I was ready to leave the cabin, I put on the ice treads on my hiking boots, picked up my laptop case, purse, lunch and camera and headed outside. I'd expected everything to be frozen, and I'd also rightly expected that the road past the cabin wouldn't yet be plowed (and at this point plowing was not longer an option. Blasting might work). So the evening before, I'd parked the car further down the mountain near an area where I knew Ski Roundtop would plow. It's about a quarter mile from the cabin.
So I walked, slid, stumbled and crunched my heavily loaded way down the mountain to the car, which is of course surrounded by ice. I unlocked the car and discovered both doors were iced closed, and I couldn't budge them open. However, the hatchback door would open. So I crawled in the back, climbed over the back seat and into the front passenger seat. Here, I was eventually able to kick open the passenger side door, though not the driver side door. Still, I was making progress. So I turned on the car and fired up the defroster. The car itself is covered with ice, really covered. So I spent the next nearly 30 minutes scraping the ice off the car on every surface I could reach. By this time, things were looking up as the driver's side door would now open after several well-placed kicks from inside.
Eventually, I was ready to start driving, so I dropped the car into 4wheel drive and headed out by my normal route. However, the gate that is usually open is now locked so I had to turn around and inch my way to another exit road, where I encountered a very icy looking and obviously untreated hill. I sat there a moment or so and finally decided not to chance it. I turned around again and followed another access road past the ski lodge. Here, I was finally able to reach the public road.
Immediately, I am confronted with a large hill, naturally still covered with ice. I start up. I'm able to make it by wandering all over the road's 2 lanes to avoid the worst of the ice, wherever I saw it. At the top of the hill, I dodge one downed tree, then another. Now, I'm heading down the hill, ever so slowly, as a wicked S-curve awaits me at the bottom. I slide slowly through the S-curve and start up yet another hill and find another downed tree to dodge, this one bouncing on wires.
And then I am down the mountain and next to an orchard and...suddenly there is no more ice and the roads are dry. What weirdness is this? I feel as though I've just exited the Twilight Zone of Ice. Down here, cars are driving at normal speeds, people are driving with their minds on their cell phones. I'm only 2 miles from the cabin but it feels like 100 miles further south. Down here, life goes on as normal. Back at the cabin ice still covers everything. The trees are still bent double. I still slip and slide and move like an old lady with every careful step. It's another world up there.


Cathy said...

Count yourself lucky that you didn't fall and knock yourself out. Now that would be an interesting post.! I wonder why they lock the gate on you. surely they know you use it.

ChicagoLady said...

Wow! I'm so glad you made it out of the mountains safely.

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: the gate is always locked overnight and no one had gotten to it to open it when I left.

Chicagolady: it was kind of a wild morning!

Carolyn H.