Hook and bullet club - Pushing spring

by Nick Wognum

We sat in the truck and stared at the snow in front of us. Evan peered over the dash and said maybe it was a little too deep to keep going. Jake and I reluctantly agreed and I slid the truck into reverse and backed up.<BR><BR>The shack had been our goal but the snow was still too deep to make it out there yet. We had managed to get pretty far down the road thanks to a winter logging operation. But where the logging ended, the deep snow started.<BR><BR>A new plan was to drive into one of the logging areas where a swamp was packed down and crossed to access woods on the other side. <BR><BR>There was water on the top of the swamp but underneath the muck was still frozen. That time of year is fleeting at best. Maybe a few days but usually no longer than that. But during that time period, travel opportunities abound.<BR><BR>We drove to the edge of the swamp and I hopped out in my 16-inch LaCrosse rubber boots to go have a look. Jake and Evan hung back, not having the same footwear advantage. <BR><BR>The smell of fresh cut wood was hanging in the air, filling the space where the trees had been. The marks left by the logging equipment were already fading away, soon to be swallowed up by moss and mud. <BR><BR>I walked on the frozen ground but had to cross water-topped areas several times in order to get to the other side. The footing was firm although slippery in spots as the “air grip” soles fought for traction. <BR><BR>Once across the swamp I was out of sight of the boys although I could still hear them talking. A small knoll lay in front of me and although the light was fading fast as the sun set in the west, getting to the end of the cut was a goal that had to be reached. <BR><BR>Once over the knoll a set of moose tracks could be seen in the frozen ground. We have yet to see the moose that inhabit the area around the shack but we know they are out there, likely watching us more times than we would think.<BR><BR>Across a small valley, up the other side and the silence enveloped me. Now only the sounds of the forest could be heard. A slight wind in the trees and some ravens talking had replaced the human voices and noises. <BR><BR>I stopped for a minute or two and tried to take it all in. The sights, smells and sounds were carefully saved in my human hard drive to be recalled at the end of a long day. <BR><BR>With the light now nearly absent, I headed back across the swamp, looking for the same path to return upon. Evan called out to see if I really was coming back and for some reason I looked up to answer him.<BR><BR>This was the mistake I made on my walk. Instead of seeing the trench of open water extending into the swamp, I was looking up. In a split second I was nearly face-down in the swamp. <BR><BR>My boots quickly sank in the swamp where the water was moving through and the ice had been removed. The hole was a few inches more than 16 inches and the water poured in. I came up with both hands and feet black in muck and a bit wetter than they had been a moment before.<BR><BR>But the cold water didn’t dampen my spirits, it only added to the experience. A walk in a frozen swamp seems to be even better when you bring home some of the swamp with you.