While the post-mono recovery isn’t distracting me from writing, the current weather is. Close to 80 in March? Those of you who claim global warming is a conspiracy (and trust me, there’s plenty of people in Lancaster who regularly discuss this) are whacked. I’m hoping it stays that way so I can start enjoying outdoor fun. As much as I covet snow, there just hasn’t been a whole lot of it, so I’ve given up and am embracing the warmth.
I do however, hope that some snow sticks around until Easter. One of my favorite traditions on Easter Saturday is spring sledding. This works best (and gets the best picture opportunities) on a sunny day, but as long as it’s above 50, it still holds its allure. I’ll explain.
Elk Mountain is located about fifteen minutes from where I grew up. They’re almost always closed by the time Easter rolls around (unless it’s one of those early late March Easters). Since Elk (and most other ski resorts) tend to make snow about three weeks well past prime ski time, leading to situations where there could be patches of snow on a 75 degree day. A few years ago my uncle suggested we go up and sleigh ride and it’s since become a tradition.
The best pictures arise when it’s sunny and especially if you wear a bathing suit, however for those of you who actually want to gain some speed and do more than just pose, I’d recommend long sleeves, gloves, pants (or high socks) and sneakers. The warmer it gets, the more crystalized the snow will become and it will sting a bit if you fall off the sled. The warm weather also means the whole mountain won’t be covered in snow; there will be patches of dirt and grass your sled may veer across which also don’t feel super nice.
Now, this isn’t something you have to do at Easter, just something I do then because it’s tradition, and it’s usually the only time I’m back in Northeast PA during the month of April. If you leave near a ski resort, check out when the close (obviously you don’t want to trudge onto the slope with your plastic saucer durnig the season) and take advantage of any nice day that comes along. If you don’t mind a few scrape and bruises this is a great time, especially if you pack a few light coolers of liquid courage. Hell, bring a sandwich and make it a picnic.
DISCLAIMER: My friends, family, and I who partake in said activity are self aware and not looking for a payout. We realize that what we are doing is potentially stupid and can lead to injury. We’re not expecting to suit Elk Mountain, and certainly not looking to blame whoever gave us this idea if we get hurt. We also realize that the technical legality of what we do is in question and are prepared to face whatever consquences they arouse. It’s harmless fun, but harmless fun should only be embraced if you aren’t, as my father so eloquently puts it, a horses’ ass.
** NEPA has both an undeserved, and ever so accurate reputation as being trashy, which is too bad; there’s a ton to do in my home-turf. While PA in general has an abundance of weekend opportunity, I’ll be especially focusing on NEPA during these upcoming summer months. Aside from Parade Day and Christmas, summer is when it really shines.