That small speck in the right track of the road way off in the distance is my father and oldest daughter sledding on Christmas morning. This was her first real sledding experience.
Back in the day, there were a few places that my brother and I went for sledding. The first place was down our gravel road aways to a spot we called Floyd's hill. An old farmer named Floyd lived at the top of it for years before passing away and eventually my parents bought their farm from their son after Floyd's wife passed away. The challenge to sledding on Floyd's hill was that there were only a few select days a year when there was enough snow over the gravel to sled down the hill before the road grader came along and destroyed things.
Another place we would sled was across the valley on the backside of Floyd's hill. There a pasture used to exist that had a nice hill with a generous runout at the bottom before one reached the crick. Once when we had an ice layer over the snow pack, the generous runout wasn't so generous and my brother and I shot over the bank down into the crick doing a ender with the sled into the fortunately thick ice. We didn't break anything and we certainly had a tale to tell. This hill was also the spot where I lost 90% of the skin from my wrist to my elbow on the underside of my arm. I hit a cowpie that launched me from the sled onto the ice surface where it literally skinned me. Fortunately the scars have faded over the years so only a few very faint ones are still visible near my right wrist.
The last place that we often visited was a hill along what was called the Old Fairgrounds Road. The District Agricultural Society used to hold their fairs there from 1881 to 1923 but now only a few know of its existence. Now it is mostly just a Level B access dirt road that hunters use while hunting the nearby river bottoms that you can see in the background of the picture at the head of this post. Around that curve at the bottom of the hill at the creek, there is a low water crossing which can get kind of exciting during heavy rains.
Although I don't have any horror stories of sledding on this hill, my brother did have a doosy one year. The road was iced over and was humped in the middle so that the sled always wanted to slide toward the deep ditches on either side. On the run downhill, my brother's sled started turning sideways on the ice and right before he went into the ditch, he hit a large dirt clod broadside. He reminded me of the ski jumper they used to show on ABC's agony of defeat video before sporting events as he flipped and turned through the air. He hit the ground hard and face first and got a mouthful of dirt and snow.
My daughter hasn't heard most of these stories and I probably will refrain from telling them to her until she is older. As it was, she was plenty scared of her first real downhill sledding and wouldn't go by herself. On my last run with her, she actually started screaming because we were going too fast though I'm pretty sure it was pretty slow by the standards of my youth. Christmas morning here had a stiff north wind and the slope in the above picture was north facing so we were all soon chilled to the bone and called it a day. Besides, we had to get back in time to take down our Christmas tree and pack for our trip the very next day down to Florida. More about that in upcoming posts.