by Brian Mohr
Heart of Winter 2009
Old Man Winter had been especially generous. Thanks to record snowfall, we had been skiing out the backdoor more than ever – lapping the hardwoods behind the house, skiing to visit our neighbor’s pigs and laying fresh tracks under the rising moon.
Craving something different, we turned to our local river, where an unusually potent January thaw had broken up its icy shell. Now, in March, with a deep snowpack in the valley, the main channel was still wide open. It was a rare combination. We knew that the terrain along the river featured only a few sloping pastures and obscure tree lines, but the urge to float downstream, in our ski boots, was irresistible.
At the put-in below our sleepy village, our friends were already in their boat doing their best to avoid being crushed by a huge, floating river berg. A circular pancake of ice, nearly as wide as the river itself, spun slowly in the large eddy below our hometown gorge. Unable to take our eyes off this icy form, we secured our skis and hopped into our canoe.