Into the Trees

Posted by on February 6, 2013 at 11:16 pm :: 4 Comments

Jason and I have been home even less frequently than usual as of late. Between mini-vacations, Sundance films, work trips, and all that regular stuff, the last few weeks have flown by in an awful hurry. But that didn’t stop us from somehow squishing yet another weekend getaway into our schedule. Our friends, Cam and Jim, are involved in a business together. They, along with their wives, were going to spend a couple days at a cabin up at Daniels Summit as a corporate retreat. Jason and I are not connected with their company in any way but they extended an invite for us to tag along nonetheless. We are usually the ones offering the free stays so this was a reversal of norms. I guess sometimes karma does give kickbacks.

The cabin had a large living area that made a great place to relax and laugh.

The cabin had a large living area that made a great place to relax and laugh.

The cabin turned out to be monstrous. I think our house would probably have fit in it a couple times over. Its cozy living space quickly became game central. Jason and I taught the gang Saboteur and then tried to teach everyone Bang. The concept of Bang is apparently more elusive than I thought, which explains why the team Jason and I were on slaughtered all the others effortlessly.

Jason and I got trapped in our room by a blockade of fluff.

Jason and I got trapped in our room by a blockade of fluff.

After our gaming that first night, Jason became a rabble-rouser. My hubby is an instigator, as many of you know, and he was in true mischief-maker mode that evening. He prompted a few juvenile pranks and soon pillows were flying everywhere. Before long, that ringleader and I found ourselves barricaded in our room by a wall of couch cushions. Good times.

Our posse of riders boldly went where no snowmobile had gone before...and then got stuck there.

Our posse of riders boldly went where no snowmobile had gone before…and then got stuck there.

The next day we spent all hours of light out on Daniels Summit’s many trails and meadows with our rented snowmobiles. The area has plentiful path options, some of which take as long as 2 hours to loop. For the most part we traveled as an earsplitting pack but Jason and I took a breather from the group midday in order to hit the Summit’s summit. Apparently, when the skies are clear the view is amazing from the top but we couldn’t see the blanketed valleys strewn out below us; we couldn’t even see a few feet in the distance. Although a cloud was taking a rest on the saddle, making visibility minimal and temperatures chilly, we still enjoyed checking out that misty peak.

It looks like I've got a grey backdrop behind me but it's just the peak's mist.

It looks like I’ve got a grey backdrop behind me but it’s just the peak’s mist.

When Jason and I were riding with the gang, we consumed a lot of time digging stuck snowmobiles out of the powder. Let me rephrase that, we spent a lot of time digging other people’s stuck snowmobiles out of the powder. (Turning my snowmobile upside-down does not count. That was easy to fix and didn’t require superhuman strength.) Some members of our group were more adventurous (i.e. foolish) when it came to taking their snowmobiles places they shouldn’t go. One particularly steep field seized almost every machine. Jason and I had to help push out mobile after mobile, none of which were ours. Boy was it tiring!

The scenes we whizzed through were lovely. They ranged from open meadows, to hills covered with aspens almost as white as the snow, to pine packed knolls.

The scenes we whizzed through were lovely. They ranged from open meadows, to hills covered with aspens almost as white as the snow, to pine packed knolls.

I can’t say that my day was incident free though. In fact, I definitely get the distinctive prize for the worst accident. You know those nightmares where you’re aware that something awful is about to happen to you but you are powerless to prevent it? Well, I had a real-life bout of that dreadful helplessness. Our group was cruising on the trail probably a tad faster than they should have been. (I prefer to go at a slower and safer speed when traversing wooded areas but some members of our bunch were a little impatient.) I came to a section of the road that angled right and steered my machine accordingly only it didn’t turn right but instead went left. What the what? Despite my forceful attempts to get it to go right, there was just no deterring it from its left bound course. A couple seconds later my opposite-than-planned direction of travel abruptly ended when I hit a tree. Although I’d like to think I braked or at least let off the gas in the middle of this, I’m not entirely sure I did either. It happened too fast and I was too confused about why my snowmobile wouldn’t go the way it was supposed to. A second of puzzlement was long enough for that tree to find me. I doubt you could have done better on a machine that you were not accustomed to driving and that was doing precisely the reverse of what it was intended to do. Besides, it’s unlikely that braking for half a second would have made much of a difference in the outcome of this scenario; snowmobiles don’t stop on a dime unless that dime is the size of a football field.

I was frazzled after my impact but not loopy, at least not loopier than normal.

I was frazzled after my impact but not loopy, at least not loopier than normal.

Even if I couldn’t fix everything in that second or two, I did do one thing brilliantly. When I hit that trunk I held onto my handlebars with a death grip that would have made Darth Vader proud. Since I was going about 25 MPH and was thrown from my seat by the impact, that tight clasp was the only thing that preventing me from smacking the tree myself or being tossed into the woods. I came extremely close to striking the trunk as it was, the group of friends riding in back of me thought I had, but dang if those stubby hands of mine didn’t hold on for all that they’re worth. Thanks to their unexpected strength, I came away from the experience with nothing more than black-and-blue knees, a bump on my head where it collided with my helmet, a little whiplash, sore wrists, and some understandable sketchiness. (Plus, a $165 fee for a bent ski rod.) Thank you little feisty fingers!

Jim's vehicle was the second one we rescued from powder oblivion.

Jim’s vehicle was the second one we rescued from powder oblivion.

My hubby, for reasons unknown, really cares about me. He leapt from his snowmobile while it was still moving the moment I collided with that poor aspen. Almost instantly he was at my side checking my pupils and lucidity. (He was convinced that I had gotten a concussion or worse from body slamming that tree, which I hadn’t hit.)

Shortly after I flipped my snowmobile Fran flipped hers on the same hill.

Shortly after I flipped my snowmobile, Fran flipped hers on the same hill.

What caused my snowmobile to suddenly get a rebellious mind of its own? Ice on the skis? Possession? Who knows. The guys at the rental shop did say that the snow conditions were just right for poor control and slow response time. You don’t say. I think I would count spontaneous oppositional travel as a little more than poor control. The mystery remains unsolved.

Jason, as always, was my favorite riding companion.

Jason, as always, was my favorite riding companion.

After our snow play, Jason and I treated everyone to dinner at the Spin Café, a yummy little joint we discovered last time we were in Heber. It was our small way of thanking our hosts. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal and the housemade gelato was a hit. It sure was a hit with my stomach anyway.

The cabin we stayed at was spacious and comfortable.

The cabin we stayed at was spacious and comfortable.

More games awaited us when we returned to the cabin with full bellies. We got in a few rounds of Killer Oompi before some of the crew started losing Oompi oomph. Jim, Cindy, Jason, and I were the last ones conscious and playing. Which means no one else got to see Jason as a pony or Jim’s upper thigh revealed. Their loss.

Jason lost a couple rounds of Killer Oompi. For one of his penalties he had to prance around like a pony with Cindy on his back.

Jason lost a couple rounds of Killer Oompi. For one of his penalties he had to prance around like a pony with Cindy on his back.

It was an amusing weekend. I could have done without the tree incident and I wouldn’t have minded pulling a few less snowmobiles out of powder potholes but such are the hazards of fun. Plus, I guess we freeloaders need to earn our keep somehow. Many thanks to the kind souls that let me and Jason tag along on this winter escape; we would be happy to strain our muscles heaving your hefty snowmobiles from the mire anytime.

4 Comments

  • Cam says:

    I say we pretend you didn’t hit a tree and I didn’t get stuck (however I can’t accept any responsibility for the brave heroes who followed me into a powdery grave). And unless you can roll your own machine over, I think a flipped snowmobile counts as stuck. Booyah!

  • Rachel says:

    We’ll just say that the tree found me and the snow pit found you. We were both blameless like heaven’s own angels…and of course me tipping my snowmobile never happened.

  • Cam says:

    Oh, good idea. You might even say we were victimized.

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