Posted by: highmountainmuse | March 11, 2009

A morning call

So, this morning Bob has to head out to the post office in Creede, and before the temperature even rises to zero, he’s off on his snowmobile.  No more than ten minutes later, we get the call.


Remember, we don’t have cell phone service here, so we’re talking a call on the walkie-talkies.


“Bring the big sled and a rope.  I’m in the river.”

Bob's snowmobile, stuck in the river

Bob's snowmobile, stuck in the river

Well, his sled was in the river, not him, fortunately.  And not just any river, but the Rio Grande, way up here at the headwaters of this mighty river. 


Over the past few weeks, despite the frigid temps, the mountain has started showing signs of melting out (I have lots more evidence of the elusive Spring approaching, but I’ll wait until tomorrow to share that story…).  The high country is starting its big thaw.  We see dirt on the southern slopes even up high above tree line, and especially on the windward sides of the mountain where the snow was thin. Some of the snow probably aspirates into our dry mountain air. But there’s a lot of snow up there, and much of it ends up finding its way down the mountain, tunneling under the snow, creeping its way down gravity’s path. I hear what was a trickle and now sounds like a muffled roar under the snow bridge crossings of the creeks leading towards the river.  The river is rising, gaining strength, opening in places, and spilling over the ice and frozen snow in others.


Forrest and I bundled up, jumped on our snowmobiles, and followed Bob’s tracks down river two miles to where we found him waiting on the bank with his sled stuck in the frozen river. Looking somewhat humbled and innocent, as you can imagine.

Rescuing Bob's sled from the river

Rescuing Bob's sled from the river

Oh, and after we rescued Bob’s sled from the river, both he and Forrest took some time to show off something called “waterskipping.”  (I believe this is what Bob had been trying earlier, which got him in the predicament we found him in…) Waterskipping is riding a snowmobile on water.  If you go fast enough, the sled will hydroplane. I recorded it on the camera, and Forrest posted it for me on his YouTube sight, so hopefully you can take a look at it by clicking on this link:   Show offs.  Even if you’re not into snowmobiling (like me), the river and mountain are beautiful to see! 


I’ve seen pictures of folks waterskipping in parking lot ponds, or even across big lakes (where the water is a wee bit warmer, I would hope), but this was the first I’d seen such across the Rio Grande. Can’t say it’s something that makes a mother and wife too terrible pleased…



  1. Funny that you say this – We were collecting sap on the snowmobiles over the weekend and my brother-in-law felt the need to waterskip on our pond. (We call it “skimming.”) He ended up soaked. Luckily he didn’t end up sinking the sled – we are not sure how deep the pond is – we’ve never found the bottom, even in the driest summers!

    Well at least I feel better knowing that boys are the same everywhere!

  2. You’re right, BOYS are the same everywhere, it seems. Must be, as I say to mine, a “testosterone thing.” Collecting maple sap? Your own syrup?

  3. Yup… it is maple syrup time! The sap is running fast and furious and the boys are boiling day and night. Nothing better than homemade syrup…. (and sugar and candy and….) especially since maple syrup prices in NH are about $50/gal!

  4. Oh my! This made my mouth drop open and momentarily took my breath away, “Bring the big sled and a rope. I’m in the river.”

    I cannot imagine getting such a call. I hope he made it real clear in the beginning that he was safe. Then of course I got tickled thinking about you and Forrest kicking it into high gear getting ready to go to the rescue.

    “Boys will be Boys…” I don’t know where that quote came from but this story seems to be the epitomy of it!

  5. Just watched the youtube video…bet you were holding your breath!

  6. That’s really neat (and tasty). I was lucky enough to see it done twenty something years ago in Vermont, and thinks it’s a terrific process and product. At the same time, I was introduced to Highland Cattle. Although we dont have maple trees here, I did start raising Highland Cattle. We do what we can, right? Bob & Forrest liked hearing about your snowmobile adventure too.

  7. Honestly, Karen, it was more like rolling my eyes, sighing, “here they go again…”

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