Snowdrifts are beginning to melt, but not fast enough
After several weeks of frigid arctic temperatures, it was nice to see the thermometer creep above the freezing mark. The dripping water keeping time like a metronome on our front deck last Sunday signified the perfect opportunity to make it out fishing.
Before leaving, my wife asked if I'd be interested in taking a jog afterward, since it was finally warm enough to run without wearing multiple layers of clothing. "Sounds good to me," I yelled over my shoulder as I waddled to the truck, arms draped with a jacket, snow pants and enough snacks to survive for a month.
Pulling in to the public access, my heart started to race. There were only two other anglers, augering holes several hundred yards out, their silhouettes posted against the bright blue horizon.
Snow had drifted in a heap in front of the road leading out to the lake, but it wasn't anything a four-wheel drive truck couldn't handle.
Boy was I wrong.
Giving the vehicle some acceleration, the two front tires quickly sank into oblivion, along with my chance to fish. I hadn't even reached the ice of the lake yet. All four tires whined in a standstill and I knew it meant trouble.
Exiting the cab to assess the situation, I could see snow packed against the bottom of the truck, "high-centered" the common term. There was no other option but to start digging.
When the hard fiberglass truck bed cover rose, I realized things were getting worse. No shovel. There was only an ice chisel, a 12-inch long 1- by 3-inch wooden board and a 5-gallon bucket.
"Sure is a nice day to fish," I sarcastically mumbled.
As I crouched, crawled and contorted my body beneath the running boards to slowly pluck away at the snow pile, my mind focused on the two anglers already fishing and couldn't help but imagine their probable success.
At least it was warm. No need to periodically sit in the cab. Droplets of water fell from the sun heated truck onto my face, tears from the once mighty vehicle, while I struggled to free the axles.
Licking my parched lips I could taste the salt of the road, and at that instant, a pair of drips landed in my eye, the sting and temporary blindness adding to my frustration.
Thirty minutes. Sixty minutes. Ninety minutes. Fishing time was ticking away. I looked out onto the lake and low and behold, the two anglers had packed up their gear and were on their way toward shore. Just as they reached the shoreline, a truck simultaneously pulled in from behind. "Need a hand?" the driver asked through his wiry beard, an angel out of nowhere.
The two anglers on foot approached as a heavy tow chain hit the ground. "How'd you guys do?" I inquired, desperate to know what I had missed.
"One bluegill, the fishing's terrible." I smiled, feeling their pain, but easing mine.
Soon the chain tightened and in one quick yank, the truck was free from the snowdrift's frozen jaws.
Walking into the front door drenched in sweat, my wife came to greet me. "So are we having fish for dinner?"
"Not tonight," I said humbly.
"So are you ready to go for a jog," she asked.
"No, thanks," I replied, my tired arms feeling a few inches longer, "I already got my exercise."