We have lots of hillside up here. The Lake Superior basin could hold a lot more water if the lake needed to fill up some more. In our general vicinity the initial rise is as much as 1000 feet (300M) and goes up some more before settling down a bit. What this does is create some opportunities to go downhill. There are numerous ways to do that such as walking, but using some kind of mechanical means can get you back down to the lake in a real hurry. It is not unheard of for large trucks to lose their brakes and go crashing down, sometimes through a building, before hitting the water. At least no one has been killed yet doing such an involuntary stunt.
As you may know, or at least heard about, is that snow and ice are slippery. We can have those for as much as 6 months of the year in these parts. The most basic form of transportation, other than falling and rolling, would be a sled or toboggan. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy just sort of smooth. I have personally used cardboard, cafeteria trays (poor college student), the hood of a motor vehicle (removed from the vehicle), or an actual store bought sliding device. Most of the North Shore of Lake Superior is just one big sledding hill.
Mostly it is a lot of fun except maybe the going back uphill to do it again. Occasionally someone will get hurt, but the snow can be somewhat forgiving. The ice, maybe not so much. In fact, an acquaintance of mine had a mishap last winter and broke her leg doing a foolish maneuver on a store bought sled. While I was not there I suspect alcohol may have been involved. It took her nearly a year to stop limping as she is only a little younger than me. This brings me to another piece of local history, recorded in our local fishwrap (newspaper) from 90 years ago, February 21st, 1929. It goes like this.
“Earl Zerbach and Esther Isaacson were sliding down the street in front of the Arrowhead Hotel and Clarence Eliasen tried to stand with his feet astride at the bottom of the hill, so that Earl and Esther could slide under him.
They were coming with such speed that they hit Clarence, and he received a bad jar and was thrown into a sitting position. He sat where he had fallen for just a few minutes and then fainted.
Amy Backlund revived him by putting snow on his forehead. He managed to get home, although he was quite dizzy. Earl and Esther received no injury.”
Poor Clarence! While it wouldn’t say so in the story (propriety, you know) I would imagine that Earl and Esther didn’t get their heads down low enough for a clean shot between Clarence’s legs. I also believe without looking into historical records that Esther was one of the kids living on my farm as Issacson’s homesteaded it back in 1915.
This is just another fine example of how we pass the time in our Winter Wonderland.
OUCH; poor clarence. we had a work snow day last week and another one this week. tomorrow it's supposed to be in the 60s and I can see tulips pushing up through the mud round here.ReplyDelete
We got snow this morning and are expecting at least a few more inches overnight. Then the temperature will drop. Every night this week is supposed to be at or below zero. -14 tomorrow night!😱Delete
I've sledded on all those things except the car hood - that's one I hadn't heard of! That sounds like a group conveyance to me :)ReplyDelete
I was thinking Clarence had a concussion but your explanation makes more sense. Poor guy.
There were a few derelict vehicles on the farm when we moved here. Actually had one of our horses pull me on the overturned hood. No wonder Clarence fainted!Delete
Sledding is a young person's sport alright. Remember Krazy Karpets? Hoo baby!ReplyDelete
It seems crashing is just part of the fun! As long as you heal.Delete
When I was a kid in Minnesota, we called it "sliding", not "sledding". Anyone else?ReplyDelete
I think you're probably right, but I grew up just south of Philadelphia. They call it pop in the Midwest, soda out east, and coke in Texas. At least MOST of the language is the same.Delete
Vacation sledding is always fun when you don't live somewhere where you have snow all the time. Except for Clarence maybe.ReplyDelete
I think he probably never forgot that day. One needs a good attitude to smile all winter.Delete
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In England it's called a sledge. And you go sledging.ReplyDelete
And here in my corner of S Ontario it's called tobogganing.
I remember going down one steep toboggan hill when the kids were younger, 4 people on the sled, landing in a crumpled heap at the bottom, and I had to walk bent over with a very sore back for the next week before I could straighten up again. People at work just laughed at me when I told them how I got injured. No sympathy at all.
Cool ... I didn't realize it was so hilly around your lake. Nobody that I know can tell me why, but we have five streets in our little beach town in SC, and three of them are named Erie, Huron and Michigan. (But no one had the temerity to name one Superior.) Anyway, have fun on those sleds and be careful!ReplyDelete
On this side the hills are referred to as the Sawtooth Mountains and were apparently about 10,000 feet high before the glaciers sheared them off.Delete
What about Ontario? Maybe the towns founders weren't very good at geography.
Maine, as you know, has always been a logging state. Before all this mechanized equipment in the woods Maine loggers used oxen to haul their wood out of the woods. I have seen pictures of Oxen pulling what look like ten cord or more through snow on sled. There are a few farms that still use oxen and one of my favorite fair activities are the ox pulls.ReplyDelete
There is something special about the people who live in snow country.
This area has been logged several times in the last 150 or so years. The pictures I have seen just shown horses here doing that same thing. There are many stories about those old logging camps and in the pictures the winters looked brutal.Delete
Same thing here in Nova Scotia, but the logging was done with horses as Jono mentions. Big, BIG horses. My grandfather did this work, and my grandmother cooked for the camp. At one time my father helped my grandfather with the logs and also helped my grandma in the camp kitchen. You're right, Jono, the winters looked brutal -- and they didn't look well dressed for it at all, at least not in the pictures I've seen.Delete
I loved the old Flexible Flyer runner sled I had as a kid, although I don't remember it being all that flexible. We had great sledding hills in the neighborhood.ReplyDelete
Even the venerable Flyer wasn't very controllable going downhill at high speeds toward the trees! At least we couldn't be killed at that young age.Delete
I love how you embrace winter.ReplyDelete
I sincerely don't recall when I changed from being like you to, oh my goodness I am not enjoying this anymore.
I only embrace it because fighting it would be futile. Sometimes I smile even when my heart is breaking.Delete
I'm semi-ashamed to admit that I'm still laughing about poor Clarence. "A bad jar" is ever so tactful.ReplyDelete
Polyethylene tarps make great sliding devices, too - they're insanely slippery when cold, and depending on the size of the tarp you can fit as many people as you want into the fun. Or pain, as the case may be...
Yes, you have to remember that this is 1929 in a very rural part of Minnesota where you would still hear Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish spoken in the streets. Forgot about tarps! Pain is fleeting when you are young and having fun. Unless your name is Clarence.Delete
Yes, I suspect the experience left a lasting impression on Clarence.Delete