Pushing Boundaries

I’m going to cross the barrier between hikers and powered vehicle enthusiasts.  I’m going to break the time honoured tradition, the rift between the Hatfields and McCoys , Bond and Goldfinger, Lord Athol Layton and Haystack Calhoun (showing my age), Rambo and … well, everybody, the Montagues and Capulets, Whoa !  Where’d that come from ?  OK my point is, get ready for it, hang onto something solid, this might hurt :

I want to express my appreciation for snowmobilers.  There, I said it.

This Winter has been an ungodly mess with the ice storm damage.  As if that weren’t enough, the icy hurricane-force winds from every direction have been less than pleasant, and the Sun hasn’t been much of a player either.  All this makes Winter walking difficult enough, without the 4 feet of snow over top of the ice from the Christmas ice storm.  We tried walking what we call the Morel Trail a week or so after the storm and it was just no fun playing snowplough with my shins.  The wife and I got into the habit of taking the road to the end of the Marsh trail to feed the chickadees, rather than wade through the four foot deep drifts on the trail.  The few backroads that were walkable became “old” rather quickly so we tried taking the Trans Canada trail section from the 6th Line.

Now, had it not been for snowmobile traffic, the walk would’ve been impossible.  We used the packed down trail from the machines’ tracks to take us a goodly distance along.  Unfortunately, the snowmobile trail curved off to run under the Hydro towers so we couldn’t finish the entire trail, but it was so good to be able to walk at least part of it.  It wouldn’t have been possible without the snowmobiles, so:

We thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the power vehicle World.

I started this posting a few days back, but decided to finish and issue it after a consideration during today’s foray.  Today, we walked the entire Marsh trail as enough people have walked it that they’ve packed down a trail of sorts.  Then, we went to check out two old favourites of ours, Seymour CA and Goodrich Loomis CA.  The trail at Seymour was just as the Marsh trail, packed down by foot traffic.  One had to be very careful to stay on the packed down trail though.  Any wanderings and, down you go, a good two to three feet deep.  Just try to climb outa that while retaining any semblance of dignity.

It was at Goodrich Loomis that I started breaking through the packed trail crust, a spine and brain jarring effect.  The trail wasn’t as hard packed as Seymour’s trails and I wondered why.  The wife pointed out that we were stomping on, and punching holes, in what appeared to be a cross-country ski trail.  I could see other footprints (by obviously lighter people) on the trail, but had to agree that there were clear ski tracks visible.  The skis distribute weight better than a boot, so while they produce a smooth trail, they don’t pack it down as well.  So, the snow under the crust couldn’t support my weight.  She suggested that maybe we should abandon the trail before we totally mess it up for the skiers, but I figured, what the hell ?  It wasn’t like I was rendering the trail useless for skiers, and besides, it’s my trail too.

As we continued on, I continued on, thinking about what the wife had said.  As I thought about it, a hiker/walker, can enjoy their pastime virtually year-round.  There are a few months where it can be a bit of a chore, but there are alternatives.  However, skiers and snowmobilers only have a few months to enjoy their chosen modes of fun.  And … any advantageous weather in my favour, comes at a cost to theirs.  Furthermore, with regard to cost, my method is the cheapest of the three.  So I figure … I win hands down, on all counts.  Therefore, I suppose, the onus falls on me not to be an A-hole, and cut the others some slack.

Hence, my thanks to snowmobilers for your trail assistance, and my apologies to skiers for punching holes in your trails.  Having indulged in both snowmobiling and skiing, I know they can both be fun, as I have pleasant memories from my youth.  Well … yeah … the actual memories I have of snowmobiles are the perpetual engine failures, getting bogged down in the snow, the perpetual engine failures, encountering bush too dense to travel through, the perpetual engine failures, broken skis &/or tracks, the perpetual engine failures … OH!  Did I mention the perpetual engine failures ?  Yeah, tons O’ fun those f*@#ing things were.  Why would anyone even …

‘Course skiing was much better.  Yeah, I particularly enjoyed the 65 degree hill that  is  Southern Ontario.  All uphill too, both ways, there and back !  Loadsa laughs to be had there I can tell ya.

Holy Crap !  I just figured out why I walk.  You sledders and skiiers, are outa yer frickin’ minds !  Just stay the Hell away from me !


I just knew there was something wrong with those people.

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