Saturday, January 9, 2016

Beautiful As On A Winters Evening

A few days ago, only about 30 minutes before dark, we all three climbed into the Suburban and headed down the snow covered road leading out of town.
We were headed towards the turnoff for Big Butte.
The butte was 18 miles away and we weren't actually headed FOR the butte.
Rather, I wanted to check out the condition of Big Butte Rd.
Was it ploughed? 
 Could I drive it alone with Kory?
I wanted to find out.
 With so much snow she and I hadn't been out towards Cedar Butte in a couple of months.  Big Butte even longer.
Leaving Atomic City behind us, we soon saw a vehicle approaching us and coming from the opposite direction.
They were hauling snow mobiles and were obviously heading home before dark, after spending the day engaged in snow machine fun.
I smiled at the thought of them.  
This is our third winter in SE Idaho, and I had become resigned to the fact that this region just did not get a lot of snow.
And now here we were edging over to the side of the road so that a truck pulling snow mobiles could get by us.
I had snow shoed many times so far this winter out on BLM land.  
Had cross country skied right outside my front door.  
And the Christmas decorations that I had staked into the ground in front of the house early in December were now frozen solid and would be there until spring.
A different and special kind of winter..................

Only a mile down the road LC slowed the Suburban and gingerly turned onto Big Butte Rd
The road was slick, filled with snow, and the deep ditches (that are dug out through the summers to act as a fire break) were invisible and lost in the snow.
In the fading daylight it was impossible to know exactly where the road ended, and where the ditches and BLM land on both sides of the road began.............

Initially both LC and I were pleased to see that the road had been ploughed.
That lasted for all of 100 yards and then abruptly stopped.
No......the road had not been ploughed after all, and from that point forward the only tracks we could see were those of snow mobiles.
Curious to see just how deep the snow actually was, LC continued moving forward.
The Suburban slid and moved forward, pushed snow and moved forward, slid some more.
After playing this same game for about 1/2 mile we looked at each other warily, silently both telling each other that it was time to quit moving forward and find a way to turn back before it got too dark and before we got stuck in the snow.
We were looking for a place to turn the Suburban around, and I searched (in the fading light) for one of the side trails that we knew were out here.
It was impossible to find them.  The sage bushes, the small rises, the trails, everything was covered with snow and the entire landscape looked beautiful, barren and cold.
Kory and I were not going to be heading out to Cedar Butte any time soon.
Vaguely disappointed but not surprised, LC and I continued to look for a place to turn around.  Eventually we found one.
Stopping the Suburban in the middle of the road, we both climbed out and walked back to what looked like a side trail.  
With so much snow we needed to know exactly where the trail was, exactly where the ditches were.
Standing on the trail, I watched as LC climbed back into the truck and backed up onto the trail.
Once Suburban was safely on the trail we both relaxed a little.
We didn't get stuck in snow.  We didn't slide off in a ditch.  Neither of us were going to have to walk back to town in the dark to bring another vehicle back.  It was all good.
And with that knowledge, I walked back over to the now-parked vehicle, opened the back door and quickly moved out of the way so that my eager pup could happily jump down into the snow.................
We didn't stay long.
Not this late in the day and not this close to dark.
I watched as LC trudged through the snow and as Kory ran up and down the road that no longer looked like a road.
The world was completely silent.
It was also completely beautiful.
It looked so different.  So vast in a way that was different from what I was used to.
The rest of the year the terrain wavered between green and brown, and although the world was wide open there were also hills, rock towers, large and small sage bushes, ditches, trees out by the buttes, lava fields.
All of those things were now covered in snow.
An almost totally white world...................
15 minutes after pulling the Suburban off the road, we loaded back into the vehicle, carefully pulled back onto the snow covered road and headed home.
One quiet adventure on a beautiful early winter evening................

 Never are voices so beautiful as on a winter’s evening, when dusk almost hides the body,
and they seem to issue from nothingness with a note of intimacy seldom heard by day...................Virginia Woolf

No comments:

Post a Comment