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.”
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.
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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfonkUBqtWk&feature=channel 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…