Kate and I are upÂ in Laconia, NHÂ with Dommie and Carolyn, Bob and Jackie, and their two little ones, Sam and Ben. And then there’s Oggie the very sleepy Basset Hound. Readers of this blog may remember that we were up here last year as well. I really thought that the day out on the ice last year was literally the coldest I’ve ever been. Now, you gotta understand, I’m an Eagle Scout and for me to throw down a tarp and a sleeping bag in a snow drift on the Appalachian trail isn’t beyond what I’d call a normal experience. So when I say this lakeÂ was cold last year, it wasÂ cold. And here we are in 2009, and its even colder than last year. I can’t believe it, but I had to admit defeat and come inside. Kate picked me up a hood/mask type thing and I got my hands on some goggles so I should be better tomorrow. The wind on my face was just way too much for my comfort. I was looking at windchill charts and info on when frostbite starts and it seemed like a good idea to get some more stuff covering me up.
[Note: What we really need is a Tauntaun from the planet Hoth.]
Below the belt, I had a pair of jeans on with long johns, hiking boots with two pairs of socks. Above the belt, I had a t-shirt, then a long sleeved t-shirt, then another t-shirt, then a sweater, then a wool sweater, followed by another wool sweather, followed by a carhartt jacket. Additinally, there are special rubberized gloves to block water and a hooded mask and goggles to cover my face. I didn’t have the goggles and mask earlier in the day, only a hat, so I got some pretty fierce windburn.
The lowpoint of the day was standing –Â and then not standing. It was quick and dramatic. You see, they had about 18″ of ice, then a sudden warming trend like we had in Philly for several days. The melted top layer of ice and snow melt drained into the lake to form a nice fluid top layer, with probably a remaining 12″ of ice underneath. Then it turned cold. Really cold. And all that smooth, clear water turned into really smooth ice. I was just standing there with Bob and Dommie and this 35mph gust of wind came and the next thing I know I was flat on my back thinking, in order:
1) Did I break my tailbone?
2) If I did something bad I’d be in a lot of pain so maybe I didn’t do anything bad.
3) If I did do something *really* bad, there would probably be no pain because I’m in shock. OMG.
4) Where is the hospital?
5) OK, sit up. Now.
It may have taken 1 second for all that to go through my head, or it may have taken 60 seconds. I don’t know. I was just so stunned.
It was totally a cartoon sort of fall. I just went flat out. I have no idea how, but the perfectÂ portion of my behind to absorb the fall did so and I didn’t hit the back of my head, as I imagine would normally happen in a fall like that. If the area that absorbed shock was up 2 inches or down 2 inches, I think I’d beÂ writing from a hospital bed right now. I really dodged a bullet. I’ve never gone down like that andÂ it completely knocked the wind out of me and gave me an immediate headache. I had a can in my hand and let go when I fell. The wind picked it up and just took it away. It raced off 10 yards, then 30, then 50, thenÂ beyond my ability to see. And I just sat there, thanking the gods of Kobol for mercy, trying to regain my sense, just watching that green can float into a vast cold, white blur.
I’m a little bit stiff and I think I pulled a muscle in my stomach but I’ll probably be ok soon enough. We’ve got two more days of fishing ahead of us and we’ll probably be out there pretty early in the morning. I’ve also got a lot more picture taking to do. I got some really great panoramaÂ shots of Dommie and Bob on the ice during sunset. I can’t wait to get those developed. But I’ll take some digital pics and video that I can transfer online while here.
When I requested this vacation time at work I found out I have taken a grand total of 1 day off since starting there 10 months ago – that includes sick time, personal time, and vacation. One day. So, today was day two, and Monday is day three. We just finished this project that started a year and a half ago that I was working on for the past 6 months and we made our finally deliveries a couple of days earlier so this is a good time to get out of the office.
What will we do tomorrow? Aside from fishing, anything we want! We’re on vacation!
Bob and Dommie drilling a hole.
The place we are staying
Everyone thinks I’m crazy because I want to do the two mile walk across this.