Saturday, January 19, 2008

A near-deadly Mission
The chill factor was -20F with a wind blowing out of the west. I'd canceled the sweat after deciding it was not safe to do. Still, weather or not, there sometimes are things that have to be done. Sometimes the need for food, water, medicine or some other vital item requires one to venture out into such cold air. Sometimes one can drive to get one's needs fulfilled. Sometimes walking, or even paddling is the most expeditious method available. IIn any event, it was clear to me what was called for.

I dressed in layers, more layers than ever before. Long Johns, fleece pants, blue genes and snow coverings over that. Vaseline coated the parts of my face that would be exposed after donning my fleece watch cap and fleece over-the-face-and-neck-hood. Wool socks and warm foot wear. Two layers of gloves. I hydrated, checked my equipment and, at last, realized that there was nothing to do but shove off. I'd checked the forecast. The wind would not shift. I silently prayed that the clear skies would allow for some solar heat. I shoved off.

The first half of the trip was easy, the wind was at my back. Still, I could feel the tendrils of cold air seeking a way to get at my skin. I was determined and pressed on. I made every effort to maintain a steady, albeit, slow pace as my breathing was labored and my heart pounding. After what seemed an eternity, I arrived at the turn around point and gathered what I'd come to get.

The wind, as if angry at my defiance of its lethal breath, tore at me as soon as I turned for home. I lowered my head and settled into an even slower but steady pace as I worked my way back. I can't say how I did it or where I came up with the inner strength to see it through, but I made it back to my starting point (obviously or I wouldn't be here to write this...but I digress).

Once back in my home, I pealed loff ayer after layer, poured a cup of steaming coffee and sat down to enjoy the rewards of my venture. It felt good to know that I had completed the trip, which I had done in every kind of weather, in record time: 22 seconds. Perhaps it was just good luck that the driveway wasn't snowed in but, even if it were, it was worth the risk to have the morning paper as I sipped my java.

Paddle safe...
DS



x

9 comments:

steve said...

Water temp 18C, air temp 15C, we can paddle every day, you` re welcome to come and visit and paddle with us here in Israel

Michael said...

Steve - sounds a bit too warm for us cold water paddlers. Our blood's so thick, you see...

As for you Dick, that was a great piece. You set us up perfectly! I question the use of greasing up the face however. I was always told that bear grease promoted hair growth on bald men, so have been wary of using it on my face even in cold weather...

Silbs said...

Steve, that would be a joy. When in Tel Aviv last, I didn't see one paddler out there. Go figure.
And, Michael: can I get bear grease on line?

JohnB said...

Bear grease eh?

Send me some too. I've been trying to collect ear wax, must do the same thing as the bear grease as there's a lot of wild hair growning in my ears--can't seem to get enough to try on my head though.

Great writing Silbs--Thanks, I really needed that this morning!

derrick said...

yikes you're getting crazier than I am!

DaveO said...

A much wiser man than we fools who headed to Ironwood/Hurley. Nice setup...had you actually paddled I would have need to genuflect in your direction while simultaneously questioning your sanity.

Ben said...

This is why I prefer to get my info at the computer screen. Touché. :D
Nice setup- esp. with the pic and all. The funny thing is, I would have believed it! I'm not sure if that says something about my state of mind, or yours.

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben said...

.... oh yeah, and if I can get a line on the bear grease, too, that'd be greeaaaattt.