February 5, 2008

Somebody get the giant emergency tongue-depressor out on that ice, stat!
Naw wy tan't tawk tuz eye dot a bihg tungdeeplesser im eye mowt. Ptooh. Dere. Gak.
Emergency use only please, no surfing, snow-boarding, trying to bat snowballs or hitting each other in the head with it.
I'm calling this a Ponderosa Pine because in the west it is known as the Western Yellow Pine, and is the most common conifer in North America. It isn't exactly the definative "evergreen", but at least it lent some color to an extremely drab, flat, almost monochrome winter's day.

I'm outta here!
Seeya at the Spring Break Party, suck-ers!

3 comments:

buthidae said...

No doubt only tropical idgits are left wondering, but what is that giant red tongue depressor?

buthidae said...

PS. in the middle of cattails, no less. Is that where most Minnesota emergencies occur?

dignature said...

Oh yes, the cattails, never turn your back on them. They are like the ocean.
You never know when a giant muskrat is going to come flying out and try to run up your pantsleg.

No actually, the giant red tongue-depressor is used when someone falls thru the ice. In theory a passerby chucks it out there to you (it has a rope system on it) then you use it to brace across the hole and you climb and/or are pulled out. Or you hang out until certified help gets there. In practice, I dunno. I've never seen instructions on how to properly use one. They tell you if you are really worried about going thru to bring two sharpened screwdrivers with wrist lanyards, use them to pick into the ice to pull yourself up and out flat, then drag yourself to some solid footing without standing up and rebreaking the ice. Then run like hell for a warm place, before A: you get hypothermia, frostbite, and delirious, or B: your clothes freeze solid and you can't move.
I went thru the creek twice early this year, once with snowshoes on, once wearing Sorels (awesome cold weather Canadian boots). Luckily, or not by chance really, I was near the bank and it was pretty shallow, about 8 - 10". My boots were waterproof and I didn't get my feet wet, but my pants and bootlaces were solid ice when I got home. I had to let them thaw before I could untie and get my boots off. Still, it was an eye-opener for me, I didn't expect it. I had had some close-calls on skates in deeper spots and thought I could read the ice pretty well. The ice IS like the ocean, you can never really trust it totally. It's great when it freezes over tho, a new highway to places you rarely get to go. The fur trade is what really established many towns on Lake Superior and the Great Lakes, and most were first reached by snowshoe over the ice. No roads, trains, or lightweight boats to get thru the swamps and portages. Easy travel on a big flat sheet. Well, mostly flat. I've been out on Lake Superior and had to climb over pressure cracks that were four feet high, in the middle of the bay. Ice is weird stuff. Kind of like plastic at times. If you are out ice-fishing in the middle of a lake and people are driving their cars around out there, sometimes you can see sort of a wave being created as the car goes by and the ice stretches and bows. No fear tho, it's over two feet think on the big lake in February.