Nicholas Fluhart

December 5, 2010

Crossing a Beaver Pond

Filed under: Project: 475 Foreman,Trips and Fun — Nicholas Fluhart @ 9:03 pm

I had a fun outing to my land lease shortly before hunting season. My brother and I were riding our ATVs when we came to a section of the road that flooded a couple of years ago due to beavers damming up a nearby creek. We weren’t far from our destination. To turn back would mean adding another hour and a lot of additional miles to the ride, and it was a hot, dusty day; I really wanted to get into the water. There was a lot of seaweed and lily pads making it impossible to see the bottom and judge the depth. My main concern was a possible under-water trench from a culvert that had washed from under the road and was now floating at the shoulder. There is a swamp to the right of the road and a deep creek with moving water to the left, and water from the creek is now moving across the road into the swamp. Since I cannot see the bottom I could easily drive into a trench, drop out of sight, and loose my quad.

At this point most people would turn back….but I’m not most people. I love a challenge, especially when there’s a little danger involved. I had a plan. I began looking around for a tool that I could use to give me an edge, and then I found it: an old tree branch. I eagerly snatched it up to carry with me across the abyss. I would use the precision instrument to gauge the depth of the water in front of me as I drove along.

 

Selecting my precision instrument.

 

And then it begins. I inch my way out into the water. I look ahead to the other side to guesstimate where I need to be in order to keep myself centered on the road. It’s a little more difficult than it looks. As you can see, I don’t have my rubber boots on (at that time it hadn’t rained in two months so I wasn’t expecting mud or water) so I climbed onto the seat of my ATV.

Putting In

 

It’s relatively easy at first, but then the water starts to get deeper. However, it’s not so much the current depth of the water that gets my blood pumping, it’s the unknown variables. I absolutely cannot see through the murky water. How deep is it in front of me? Where are the shoulders of this narrow old road? If I get too close to the edge, which I cannot see, I could slide off the road into chest-deep water. There’s nothing I enjoy more than this type of riding!

Further into the unknown.

 

The water is getting deeper, naturally, but I could still turn back before this outing turns into a travesty. ….Not a chance. At this point I’m hooked; the only way I’d go back is via winch-line. I keep moving…

 

A little seaweed.

Past the point of no return now. As my depth gauge encounters an indigenous life form, I feel some obstacles on the ground beneath me. Probably a log? An old pipe? Who knows what’s down there considering I’m riding in a WWII era munitions depot. I try to correct…

 

At the edge.

…aarrrgg! Too much! I almost slid off the shoulder of the road. It’s narrow and impossible to see. I slow to a crawl as I use my stick with the value of a life preserver.

 

The half-way point.

As I reach the half-way point I’m encouraged to continue, however, the deepest section is yet to come. As I pass a flower on a lily pad I notice there is a slight current and I’m approaching the area where I believe the culvert was. With nerves of steel, I press on.

 

Approaching the deepest part.

With my exhaust pipe soundly under the surface gargling creek water, I realize I’m right in the deepest section where the culvert was. Fortunately there was not a deep trench there, but there was a bit of a dip. I pushed through and the front of the ATV bobbed as the water rolled up on top of the front fenders.

 

In the deepest section.

As I traverse through the dip I see light at the end of the tunnel and I know I can make it. At this point in a challenge I tend to get a little excited so I picked up the pace a bit. Before I realize it, the water is getting shallow and I near the bank. Alright! I did it.

 

 

Success!

 

On to the next one…

 

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