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March 2004 (Updated by the 15th)



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Photo Copyright © John B. “TRAVEL IN LOCAL SPACES”

“Ode to the Sled”
by Jessica Kuzmier

     Another winter comes to a close, as the snow melts away and disappears into the March air. It seems that this spring is going to be an early one, as the temperatures climb into the forties and fifties, ten degrees above average. Perhaps it will be an early growing season for the garden. The warm temps make me think about baseball: will the Mets actually do something other than lose this year? It also makes me realize that the last of the snowmobiling season is here, the last of zooming away on trails that when walking take hours to traverse, especially in two feet of snow. Now, the snow is barely there.
Photo Copyright © John B.
     All that being said, this season was a terrific one. With the selection of snowmobile trails, it was a great experience. A great way to work out, too; the heck with the indoor gym equipment; this is the way to keep in shape during the winter. At first glance, to a non-snowmobiler, sitting on the back of a sled doesn't seem like much of a workout. But with all of the leaning and squeezing to keep on the top of things, you'd be surprised. To say that snowmobiling isn't exercise is to say that horseback riding isn't exercise because the horse is doing all the walking. I don't think you'll find too many jockeys who will agree with that assessment.
Photo Copyright © John B.
     Getting a taste of winter is something that you can do easily on the snowmobile. Going by creeks and streams that are visited by very few at any given time, you can savor the silence of winter. Snow muffles any noise of outside creatures. The snowmobile takes you to places that few hikers go, so you can sit by a creek and pretend that you are the only person in the world, sitting on your machine.
Photo Copyright © John B.
     This year was a foretaste to what I hope will happen next year. I would go to the gas station and see people filling up their sleds, finding out where the trails were outside of my neighborhood region. Zooming away on a snowmobile may not get many brownie points from the Sierra Club, but it is surely a fun way to explore a winter world that might not be seen otherwise. Driving on the winter roads, trying to avoid careening into black ice and into the driver in front of you, you forget about all of the paths in the hills that surround you. It's more important to keep your head in civilization, and wish that the snow would melt already so that you don't have to worry about slipping on the roads. On the sled, in the woods, it's another world, just several feet away. You can zoom away in a world of white, and the world struggling through a winter commute seems miles away.
Photo Copyright © John B.


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