Our First Snow and a Flooded River

Filed in General by on November 27, 2013 3 Comments

We had our first snow last night. I experienced it up close and personal on my way to and from Jiu-Jitsu practice. Funny story about those trips. What? You want me to tell you all about it? Okay.

First, let me give you a word of warning. If you ever think you should head out and drive around somewhere in Maine when it’s just starting to snow, think again. They don’t plow here. Also, as it snows, the snow accumulates upon itself. It doesn’t melt and it doesn’t go away. Leaving the house when it’s just starting to flurry, playing some Jitsu for two hours and then heading back out to drive only promises stressful times. Yeah, I know all about it.

The weather report only talked about “snow showers.” To me, that means it’ll start snowing, heavily at times, and then stop. You know, a snow shower. Just like a real shower. You get in and you get out. Snow showers aren’t supposed to mean, “it’s going to snow all night.”

Like I said above, when I left the house, there was just a dusting on the road. As I was driving, I gave the car the brake test and everything was a-okay. I had no trouble with sliding at all. Well, that’s until I arrived in Farmington. Just as I pulled into town and tried to slow down for a yellow light, the car decided to slide. I should have turned around and headed back right there. But no, I was almost at class, and I was really jonesing to roll, so I kept going. I should have left when I was changing into my gi and said to someone, “Yeah, I really hopes it stops.” They didn’t reply.

When class was over, I warmed up the car and sat for a little while. I noticed that the snow was only about an inch deep, so I figured there wouldn’t be an issue. And there wasn’t, until I got to the down slope of the mountain just before the house.

Right as I cleared the crest, I gave the car another brake test. I was only going about a mile an hour, so I felt pretty secure. The anti-lock brakes stuttered and after a few moments, they locked up. Mind you, I was now heading down hill. As the brakes locked up and I began to slide at a steady pace, I found my fingers squeezing the steering wheel oh mighty tight. Not much help they were.

At that very moment, the moment I began sliding down the hill, I realized I was a tourist. There was only one other set of tire tracks on the road, which meant that all the true Mainers were sitting at home watching television. I, and some other poor schmuck, was the only one foolish to be out and about, trying to get from point A to point B.

The car finally stopped. I really didn’t know what to do because if I moved at all, I would begin sliding to the right, off the road. I figured that if I let the car roll freely, I could steer it to the left and get the driver’s side tires off the road, into the dirt. Perhaps they would have more “grippage” over there.

They did. I managed to pull all the way over to the opposite side of the road, car half on and half off, and very slowly roll down the hill to make a left onto the safety of our dirt road. It lasted about a quarter mile. Remember, at this point, I was the only car on the road in the entire state.

I made it though. And I feel I’m entitled to put the whole ordeal into my memory bank of adventures. It’ll be a fun story to tell someone in a few years. “Hey, let me tell you about the time I had to drive down a mountain, in the snow, on the wrong side of the road.” Should make for a good time.

Here are some pictures Laura took last night when it started snowing.

Snow Falling

Snow On Ground

We’ve got some strange weather going on up here. Yesterday, on my way home, the temperature reading in the car said 27 degrees. Overnight, I think the temps rose because when we woke up, almost all the snow was gone and it was raining. Tomorrow, everything is supposed to freeze and overnight things should drop to 9 degrees. Ugg. I’m just waiting for the power to go out again.

Farmington Maine Forecast

Before I fell asleep last night, I knew I wanted to get back to the river for some pictures in the morning. With the one to two inches of rain they were forecasting, I figured I’d see some action in the way of flooding back there. I wanted to see how the beaver dams would hold up against all that pressure. With that in mind, Laura and I woke up and got all sorts of dressed for the occasion. It wasn’t cold, but the rain was pretty heavy.

Slushy Dirt Road

I made it back to the stream that runs along the side of the property before she did. She was busy taking pictures of a whole variety of things. I’ve learned through the years to leave her on her own when she does this. No one likes to be tugged around when they’re attempting to enjoy nature, no matter the prospect of excitement round the bend.

It was about twice as high as it normally was. I could see the ice that used to be exposed to the air below the new running water.

Flooded Stream

That was all well and good, but I didn’t get all dressed up to see the stream. I wanted to see the river, so I began making my way back into the woods. I followed the ATV trail back.

ATV Trail Through Small Pines

I walked all the way to the back of the property and was delighted with what I found. It was the drama I was hoping for with an incrementally swelling river. I’d say it was rising about an inch every ten minutes, because between the time I took a few pictures, and the time Laura arrived to my position, we were unable to walk were I had already walked. The ground was flooded.

Water Rushing Down River After Rain

Flooded Beaver Dam

Flooded River

After Laura joined me, I started wandering through the forest snapping photos of random things. I suppose that’s what you’re supposed to do out here.

Wet Snow on Hemlock Branches

Broken Down Hunting Cabin

Inside of Old Hunting Cabin

After a while, there was only one thing I wanted to do. I wanted to travel to the lower section of the river to get a look at the bottom beaver dam. I loved watching the water rush over them.

Lower Flooded Beaver Dam

Looking Down River During Rain

Walking Down River Between Pines

Looking Up Towards Beaver Dam

And lastly (I mean it this time), I wanted to go even further down stream to check out where the stream and the river converge. There’s a pretty neat peninsula down there, and I thought it would be even neater during a rain storm.

Fast Flowing Stream

Intersection of Stream and River

Well there you have it folks. Our first snow, our first rain storm and a humorous short story about me attempting to travel in terrible conditions. I hope you enjoyed.

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