I’m trying to find ways out of this funk. (It ain’t always easy, this kicking your own ass thing.)
Today I woke up determined to go on an adventure. I am, after all, the only one who can help myself.
I had admired some amazing photos of ice formations on a friend’s Facebook page, and was stunned to find out that the particular hiking spot was right in my backyard! (Sort of.) I put the vacuum away, threw on a coat, put on the Sorels that Bitchy bought me for Christmas, put the car in drive and made my way across town.
I pulled into the small parking lot next to my favorite watering hole, and followed the small road behind it to an adjacent lot. At the back of that lot blocking the road was a large orange gate and a sign welcoming the public to the state game-lands. The sign might have said something about the university, and a Living Filter thingy, but I can't be sure. I pulled on my gloves, bundled up and began the solitary walk down the road.
My friend said that there were some hidden icy treasures back here, and that they were not hard to spot. I walked down the road that was lined with trees and passed an older gentleman bundled up walking with his two large Labrador companions.
“Beautiful day, isn’t it?” he said.
“You bet!” I laughed as I saw the dogs digging in the snow with their noses. "I can't imagine there's snow coming with this gorgeous blue sky!"
I walked on, surprised that I saw no one else out on this chilly but beautiful morning. I glanced to my right and noticed the barren fields that were now lining the road. I saw long irrigation pipes running back and forth among them, and then in the distance saw an amazing sight. It was a giant set of trees cloaked in what I could see were layers and layers of ice!
I immediately started across the field towards it. I realized, after the crunching and sliding, that I was walking over a snow covered SHEET OF ICE that was at least a football field in length. I walked gingerly, thinking about the one GOOD hip I had left, and then realized that if I walked beside the irrigation pipes and held on, they would take me right in front of the gorgeous ice formation.
I was right.
I gingerly let go when I arrived, and walked closer for a picture. I snapped a few, and realized that I might, in fact, be stuck on a crazy field of ice.
It was then I saw the truck.
It was white, and had the distinctive lettering of Smythe and Wesson University. It was being driven by a weathered middle-aged man with a friendly smile and a bushy brown beard. He stopped right next to me, opened the door and smiled.
“I see you’re taking pictures! Be careful, because it’s awfully icy here!”
“Thanks!” I replied. “I can’t believe all this!” I was hoping he wouldn’t reprimand me for trespassing, AND for being stuck. Instead, he held out his hand.
“Here, let me help you. Come back this way.” I gave him my hand and he pulled me onto the welcoming crunchy snow.
“I work here inspecting all these pipes. My name is Bill Jones. I live here in town. My wife is Julie Jones, an attorney. You might have heard of her?"
I nodded yes, shook his hand and introduced myself. “Tell me about this ice! It is INCREDIBLE!”
“Well,” he said, “This is one of two places in the country where you can see something like this. We basically funnel the water from the water treatment plant into these acres and acres and spray them across the fields. I work with four other fellas, and we come out each day and check all the pipes and faucets and spigots for leaks. And then, I take pictures, too!” he laughed.
I shared with him my excitement about seeing this particular ice sculpture, and he pointed to his truck.
“Do you want a tour? I can show you some beautiful stuff! Come on!”
I was thrilled, and after deciding that my instincts told me he wasn’t a killer, I hopped into the beaten-up work truck and buckled in.
He took me on a bumpy, icy tour of the most incredible ice tree forest I have ever seen! He filled me in on the history, his job, where the water came from, where it was going, why SOME of the ice was yellow, and some other fascinating stories!
He stopped at all in breathtaking formations and we both took turns hopping out of the car to snap pictures. He drove up icy slopes sideways that made me feel like I was on some kind of crazy roller coaster, and I laughed and laughed.
As the tour of the fields wrapped up he drove me right down to the orange gate. I thanked him profusely, and he smiled as he told me he always read my columns in the paper! I laughed, as I hadn't mentioned that particular thing that I do. I hopped out of the truck, and smiled as he drove away.
What had started out as a cold, quiet walk in the woods ended up being a breathtaking, exciting and educational adventure.
And all of this happened because I made the simple decision to leave the house.