Sunday, March 4, 2007

A couple days ago Ken asked me if I would consider going up to the Beartooths on Saturday with the snowmobiles to search out some potential new spots for backcountry skiing. While it is not my favorite way to spend a day, it is nice to see the area in winter. Besides, my ankle is still too sore to run on and sitting on a snow machine is an activity that doesn't require me to put any weight on the joint. What we didn't know when we made the decision was that Saturday was the day the local snowmobile association was hosting the annual ride for the entire state. The Beartooths are usually much quieter that Cooke City because the area is so much larger and because, even though just a few miles apart, the snowpack is often thinner on the Wyoming side. Instead we arrived to find about 70 snow machines at the warming hut including several friends from Search and Rescue. Bill immediately took us under his wing as the rookies in the group. Bill is our SAR pilot. He is not much help when it comes to anything involving physical activity but put him in a plane or on a snow machine and he can out-perform the best of them. There must be something about me that shows my newness to the "sport" because just after we arrived a lady from Cody came up and asked if she and her husband could ride with us because she does not feel comfortable on the machines. We spent the morning riding around some of the areas where we camp in the summer months. I got stuck twice and the second time it took about a half hour and a whole lot of effort on everyone's part to get my machine out. This is exactly the kind of snowmobiling I dislike. The lady from Cody didn't even attempt to leave the trail and told me she really was not having fun. It seemed clear she was along only because her husband insisted. In the afternoon Ken and I told the others we were going to do what we came up for in the first place and the other three decided to tag along. We found a couple good slopes that should make for nice skiing under the right conditions. Bill talked us into going to the Deep Lake overlook after that and I didn't mind a bit because it is one of my favorite summer destinations. We ran into some really tricky conditions once we got there and at that point we were probably at least 10 miles from most of the riders. That is the problem with snow machines. It is not that they are inherently unsafe; it is that any mistake has huge and potentially life-threatening consequences. We all managed to get through it okay but at one point Ken and Bill had gone ahead and the lady from Cody got her machine stuck. Her husband and I struggled through the waist deep snow to reach her and all of a sudden he starts screaming at her that she is so stupid he can't believe it and swearing at her about how useless she is in general. I was speechless as I waited for her to snap back at him that the only reason she was here was to please him and I was totally appalled when she she didn't and instead I saw this resigned and defeated look on her face. It was obvious this was not an unusual reaction from him and her acceptance of it made me hurt inside. We pulled her out and joined Bill and Ken but my day was pretty much ruined at that point. We got back to the warming hut with about two gallons of gas to spare so headed down the hill and back to the car.
This morning I spent some time making silk screens of Adrinkra symbols. This is a graphic language from Ghana and I want to incorporate some of the symbols into a small quilt dealing with the stages in a woman's life.

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