Saturday, April 30, 2011

Keepin' On Keepin' On

What a nice surprise last night.

Owing to my BodyClock disdaining ways over my long weekend, I didn't get my sleep...that is I only tallied a nap, not serious shuteye. When my alarm roused me, I gazed out at a little snow on my deck.

After my shower and shave, I made my lunch and a Thermos of French Roast, synced my iPod, got dressed and headed out the door. I locked the hubs on the Parts Runner, and I was off. The webcams showed a little accumulation.

Near the summit of my drive to work, I threw it into 4WD. Frozen sleet glazed the road, an it was really slick. At the parking lot there still wasn't much more than an icy glaze on the pavement. With most of the parking lot lighting off, I gingerly walked up the shop road.

Swing shift had good news, while not actual Hero Snow, it was close enough. The list was light and the climbing was improving hourly. Jeweler and I set off into the night.

It was slow going at first. So, slow and steady it was. At 0300 I finished my first project, and headed in to the shop for a top-off of fuel. It was as close as I'd get, and if things stayed low and slow, I'd have a long trip to the pump right during our busiest hour.

As I neared the shop. I saw some new footprints in the fresh snow...or paw prints. The bears are awake from their hibernation. These tracks were bigger than my hand prints (I wear XL gloves) This bear was really out for a stroll, his tracks were seemingly everywhere I went once I left the pump. I wanted to take some photos, but I didn't. Two reasons:

One. I was worried about the time...the grooming was turning out good, but it was slower going than I was comfortable with.

Two. With a fixed flash on my Point&Shoot digicam, I figured the prints in the snow would turn out totally washed out anyway.

While writing about the bear track photos, I came up with a plan to make the pix without flash, using only my BR350's lights. I'd probably need a tripod too...oh yeah, and another perfect storm of an inch or less of new snow, a sauntering bear, some spare time, and the luck to find it all again...

Around 0400 I saw my first stars, and the mercury plummeted 20°F in about an hour. The Boss called on the 2-way, he was in the house and warming up. I told him where we were at, and where he could help the most.

At 0500, my sleep deprivation demanded a power nap. I finished the trail I was working on and parked it on the side of the Start Bump atop the Race Course. I set the iPod's timer for 30 minutes, keyed the mic an announced: "I'm goin' 10-7 for lunch, I'm on the start bump".

I awoke refreshed 30 second before the alarm sounded. There was a little bit of color in the eastern sky. I rolled away, and the snow had noticeably improved, still not hero status, but closer and faster.

The sun rose revealing streams of blowing snow Himalayan-style off the ridge tops. With renewed purpose, we kicked it down the home stretch, tossing in a couple of extras.

Back at the fuel dock, I called us clear a little after 0800. Yet another silk purse from the sow's ear. Smiles all around.

The morning's beauty was amazing, I took a drive along Donner Lake, and there were several mackinaw fishermen on the looked cold...the East Wind was up, but not "Victory At Sea" size. The east wind is forecast to end, but I think it will help further dry the piste while it lasts. Could be Hero Snow tonight, or as close as it gets at the end of April!

Good times!

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