This is apropos of nothing in particular, except most (if not all) of New England just got a heaping helping of the white stuff. While it’s heavenly on the trail (and I’m thinking in particular of anything in the Northern Presidential Range, where it paves everything nice and flat!) it can be hell on wheels where the roads are concerned. As I write this, it’s sunny out and seasonably mild, but you know anything that melts today is going to freeze tonight, and make a wicked mess come morning.
As they say in Maine, “your destination is your safe return to the trailhead.” Extending that to its logical end-point, your trip isn’t over until you’re back home, safe and sound. Just like there’s no shame in turning around on the trail and going home, there’s no shame in taking it slow. There’s no shame in changing your plans if the way to the trailhead is treacherous.
On the trail, we can use snowshoes, crampons, microspikes, and all kinds of other things to keep things moving forward. In our vehicles, we can’t just slap on crampons or use an ice axe. (Not the least of which, crampons are hell on floor mats.) All weather tires and traction control buttons on the dash might break the edge of the worst of it, but none of that will do much if the gas, brake, and steering wheel aren’t used judiciously in the first place. As on the trail, it’s what’s between your ears that makes the ultimate difference.
While we’re at it, go ahead and apply this to all your travels, be they as adventurous as heading out to the mountains, or as mundane as shuffling down the street to fetch some groceries. (But more germane to this blog, don’t forget, even though the parking lot at your local grocer might be clean and clear, things can be worlds different in the mountains. Do a little extra research before heading out the door to tamp down unwanted surprises.)
For all of us who’d rather be doing lots of cool things, like nailing down our Winter 48 lists, or even just getting out for a quick jaunt in the woods, nothing screws up those plans like ending up in a snowbank. Even if it’s just a casual introduction to said snowbank, I can’t think of a sillier way to get a headache.
As always, stay safe out there, folks.
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