Winter. Sledding. Life.
Libby, Montana, was paradise for a kid who loved winter. Foot after foot, snow fell to the ground and covered everything in sight. The accumulation of snowflakes turned the blackest of nights into a shade of grey, and the moonlight painted the snow that laid across the branches of trees.
A boy and his family turned sledding into a get-together type of adventure. No matter the frost bitten toes or the ruby red faces, screaming down a hill on a sled built for speed was the ultimate adrenaline rush. More importantly, I can still hear the quietness that took over the mountain after the ride. The crunching of snow underneath your boots meant it was time to get back to the top. Out of breathe and legs tired, your body temperature rose enough to take off a layer or two. A battle between hot and cold depending on which direction you were heading.
Blue Mountain gives a great view in Northwestern Montana; an old road that led to a lookout tower up at the top used for scouting fires in the summer. The race downhill seemed like an eternity. Think of a soapbox race, but with much less control. I am talking a thrill ride that any kid would crave.
The Steel Runner sliced through the fresh powder, and gripped the ice with a vengeance. You would feel the sled occasionally cut over gravel; spitting out rocks as if you were in the driver’s seat of your favorite muscle car. The rough ride reminded you that it was real while the blinding snow made you feel invincible. You could not keep your eyes on the road ahead; the snow was much too cold. Eye lashes froze, nerves fell asleep and your chin became numb. It was painful but the excitement overpowered any feeling of ache.
From the top of the mountain, you could hear the burst of laughs escalating back to the starting line. Stories would be told on the walk back to the top; parents reminiscing of times that preceded us kids. Mom and Dad failed to realize that these memories would one day remain instilled in us. No pictures and no phones, just your family, friends and the Steel Runner Sled. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, Blue Mountain Lookout Road became our favorite destination.