A snowmobile day trip
‘Brake, brake, brake, you idiot,’ (it was actually far worse than that but too rude to repeat here) shouts my husband as I careen wildly off the icy pathway, into the snow-covered banking, clinging desperately to the handlebars. Trees loom large in front of us, disturbingly solid – this is not going to be a platform 9 ¾ magical doorway if we don’t manage to stop.
I’m out of control, screaming madly as I try to overcome the involuntary rigor mortis which seems to have clenched my hand to the accelerator (surely that is the brake?) of our monster snowmobile. Visions of the epitaph on my grave flash through my mind, the tears of my step-kids at our graves, and the bitterness of my mother in law for daring to take her baby on yet another hair-brained adventure where danger lurks around every corner.
It’s a rather frightening end to a day, and possibly my life, as we hurtle off the pathway plunging dangerously into the woodland verge, those trees approaching rather too quickly for my liking.
A day in the Grand Teton National Park
It all started so innocently just a mere few hours earlier as we left our hotel (the location of Clint Eastwood’s ‘Any Which Way You Can’ film) on a quest to satisfy my husband’s inner child. A day of snowmobiling in the Grand Teton national park, with a chance to see elk, wolves, moose and bison was an opportunity not to be missed.
After all, we may be here to ski but nature’s fury is on display nearby. Yellowstone’s bubbling rainbow coloured pools may make a pretty picture but if these bad boys decide to put on a show of their strength (we are on a “super volcano” after all), letting loose the full extent of their geo-thermic activity then the Icelandic ice cloud would look like a test run for Armageddon. Also in the area, are the magnificent jagged peaks of the Grand Tetons – just look at those beauties!
What better way to escape into the wilderness and see this untamed part of the States than on a snowmobile?
Into the wild
We head off to the park for our briefing and I nervously take my place on the back of the dual seater snowmobile. I can’t say I’m convinced. I prefer floating to motoring. Give me a paragliding experience, skydive or deep sea dive and I’m happy to while away the time but sat on this machine nervously pondering the possible damage it can wreak on me or my bank balance (should we, sorry I, decide to crash it) has me coming out in a small sweat.
My husband is driving like Louis Hamilton in a strop racing across the tundra like plains, jolting me from side to side. Why he can’t drive like Miss Daisy I don’t understand. Unfortunately, I’m surrounded by testosterone fuelled madness as the guys (and indeed gals) in the group seem to want to outdo one another in their determination to show off their newfound skills on a throbbing machine.
These pathways may meander innocently through the pretty forestry land, reminiscent of Christmas, but that peace and quiet is soon ruined by the roar of the engines of our snowmobiles hurtling around corners at breakneck.
I, however, want to take a leisurely drive through the woodland paths without jarring my spine into a million pieces, falling off or dying. I don’t much fancy being run over by this beast of a machine and this all black motorcycle outfit (no leather in sight) is not a look that suits me. Where are the pink or red suits for god sake?
So it is, that we approach the final mile of our journey with me secretly thanking God that I have made it back in one piece, haven’t crashed my new toy (that one you got for Christmas which secretly you hated!) or killed my husband for repeatedly calling me a wuss.
A slip of concentration, perhaps a hint of wildlife in the woods or maybe the peer pressure of knowing we are way behind everyone else because I’m enjoying a less frenetic woodland adventure, and here we are hurtling down the hillside at breakneck speed, with me madly clinching the accelerator.
Twigs and branches crunch and snap, the air rushes past my earlobes, birds fall into stunned silence and somehow big bloody Bertha comes to an unruly stop mere inches from a whopping tree.
Thankfully the five-foot snowdrift, with Herculean effort, was our saviour. After bursting into tears of relief, cursing my husband and clambering up the hillside on hands and knees, I can revel in the fact that I am alive (although the embarrassment of having the rest of the group tow our snowmobile out of the snow almost does kill me!) and that my savings haven’t taken a $20,000 hit!
Now all I have to do is live with the sadist delight of my husband delighting in reliving this story at every opportunity. Oh and avoid ever getting on the back of another one of those monsters EVER again.
Have you narrowly avoided death?
What’s your most embarrassing, terrifying or dumbass travel story? Have you narrowly avoided death, unwittingly got caught up in a terrifying incident or simply done something foolish? This isn’t my only story of mishaps and machines by the way so don’t worry, you can rest assured, no matter how foolish your stories, you aren’t alone.