Just Another Lesson Learned

Last night we rang in the new year in what is becoming a traditional way of celebrating, but in a way that was decidedly not revelrous. Jim and Jess joined us for some healthy southwest quinoa chili, we chatted about everything and nothing until it was time for their wee one to hit the hay, and then we watched The Exorcist…after which I promptly went to bed. Take it easy on me, okay? I’m still recovering from the flu.

The weather gnomes promised up to two inches of lake effect accumulation, and so naturally we got 6+. I don’t want to count my snowflakes before they fall, but this winter certainly seems to be shaping up better than last. Not wanting to overdo it, we opted for a picture-taking day of adventure – as opposed to the downhill skiing we’d like to be doing.

We pressed fresh tracks in the unplowed road, and drove over the hill, down to the Seven Bridges Natural Area. This time I packed the tripod and my new filters, and with just a bit of playing, got some shots that I think capture the feel of the braided, gently falling waters there. I have visited numerous peaceful places, not least of which is my own backyard way out here in the middle of nowhere, and I simply cannot think of a more calming location than beside a trickling brook that is heavily padded with snow. The air today was nearly still, and all the birds and ground critters had stayed nestled in their warm places so that the only perceivable sounds were the rolling river water and tiny spatters as falling flakes struck exposed evergreens.

I loved the reflections here today:

And the snow hanging delicately on these cone-like seed pods:

But my favorite thing was playing with my new filters:
hanging ice over Rapid River
small Rapid River falls
Rapid City River falls

As I was taking this one, an avalanche of snow fell (captured in photo) from overhead branches, coating lens, killing remaining photo ops until snow melted from said lens
Rapid City River falls heavy snow
We drove around a bit more, seeking – but not finding – places where the big lake was beginning to freeze. After a while, we decided we were nearly done adventuring, and started making our way back home. We contemplated a walk in the park, but decided that the cold air on our tender lungs might not be wise just yet. Instead, I pointed out a road we had not traveled yet, that goes near a barn I’d like to photograph from a nearer vantage point than across this field of sunflowers.

These are from the Elk River spillway in Elk Rapids…not near the aforementioned barn


We crested a rise, and then spotted a good place to turn around…just over there where those other people had turned around. Only it wasn’t. It was a place where Serious Trucks with Feet of Clearance had turned around, and then those deep ruts were covered with inches snow, giving only the appearance of a friendly turn-about. And so commenced our two hours of being stuck. In our new car. That we bought because we worried that one day the little GTI would get stuck, but never did because we had more sense than that. Multiple people stopped by, on snowmobiles and four-wheel drive Blazers that took different paths than us, and offered help. No avail. We had bottomed out in cold, compacted and slightly wet sand, and despite digging, digging, digging, we were going nowhere.

Thanks to Jason the Tow Truck Driver, we are safe and sound at home. We certainly got more of a workout than a lap in the park would have been (and also likely more than merely being stuck in snow πŸ˜‰ ), but think of how much more we know now πŸ˜‰Β  If you’re still here, reading these growing paragraphs, these are my takeaways: If you’re in the snow, and it’s so deep that you’re moving forward, looking for a turn around, stop. Reverse down the road that you just safely traveled until you spot something better than whateverΒ might lie ahead. And also: blame and anger are not your friends, and will absolutely not unstick a stuck car.Β  (Many thanks to my husband for recognizing this as thoroughly as I do, and for having a relatively good time despite being stuck between some sand and a snowy place.)
cedar root frame

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17 thoughts on “Just Another Lesson Learned

  1. Good advice. This would be me, every day, if we lived in a place that had regular snow. My mud riding record isn’t much better, either … πŸ˜‰ Beautiful shots, though. It makes me smile that I can enjoy the scenery without the bite of the cold air that goes with it. πŸ˜€

    • The cold isn’t so bad if you’re dressed for it. Fortunately, I had on the whole “get up” because I knew I’d be traipsing through deep snow today.
      We have traveled in deeper snow in this car (like, say, the day we left for Ohio), but deep snow hiding deep sand was a bad combo. We’re just smiling about that lesson (hopefully) learned πŸ™‚

  2. OMG! :O And giggle – love the way you framed that getting stuck news πŸ™‚ Glad all is now well! Had a great New Year with you guys πŸ™‚ And beautiful shots as always! Portrait reflection gets favorite-ed.

    PS – Nerd πŸ˜‰ (we both know I’m talking about that last picture)

    • Just read all your text messages too πŸ™‚ Should have had Tony take one of me trying to dig out the Audi…that might have been your favorite! Had a great New Year’s welcome too. Wonder what we’ll do next year?

  3. Beautiful pics Heather. Too bad you went and “got stuck.” Judt joking. Who would have known? Thanks a tow truck and that is was daylight was a very good thing. I will await your next adventure without complications, I hope.

    • Thanks Yvonne. All things considered, we were pretty lucky. We were dressed well, and we even had emergency food in the car. Really though, we were lucky for the cell phone reception, which would have allowed a phone call for a friend to come get us. Not come tow us out, but meet us part way at least πŸ˜‰ And yes, we’ll hope for no complications in the future!

  4. I agree with Jess on favorites…but still looking for that barn;) Glad You are both safe and the Audi is seemingly unharmed.

    • Did you click the link for the field of sunflowers? It’s back there; you’ll be able to see it if you open the pic. And ironically, I didn’t even like the barn that well up close so the whole thing was totally not worth it πŸ˜‰

  5. Oh my! Laughing…and will someday tell the story of two friends that drove up to Calument to go cross country skiing…and talked to much and got stuck and and and….but must go to work now. Thanks for sharing amazing photos (including sunflower and barn)…and fun (not to you I know) story.

    • I’m glad you can find the humor in it too πŸ™‚ My arm and back muscles are still sore from trying to dig us out, but sometimes things like this are just funny. I suppose those two friends who traveled to Calumet eventually got unstuck, and still had a great time πŸ˜‰

  6. You have more snow than we do–by a LOT! We only have a couple of inches on the ground and folks are grumbling. Kiah had wanted to go skiing but couldn’t, which was OK, because of her bad cold. Love that last photo especially!

    • By our point of view, we have been pretty fortunate. We got over a foot back on December 20, and it hasn’t melted so our little bits of lake effect just keep things fresh. Tony and I are feeling well enough that I think we are going skiing today. Hope Kiah is better by now! (And that you get just as much snow as you want)

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