Page 48 - WCM 2023 Winter Flip
P. 48

 Cold Weather? No Problem!
Maine Guide’s Warm Gear Checklist story and photos by William Clunie and Nancy Carpenter
 Three riders were approaching.
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”
~ John Ruskin
The winter of 2007 started out with more snow than this part of Maine had seen in years, and needless to say, the snowmobiling was top-notch! As a Maine Guide, I had been leading snowmobiling tours through an outfitter near the scenic town of Bethel, on a well-groomed trail along the Androscoggin River.
As ice forms on the big river, it sometimes pushes water up onto the surrounding agricultural fields. The popular Club 13 Trail traversed a large potato field and had flooded much more than I realized. To top it off, cold temperatures had frozen the flooded field, and Mother Nature had then laid a blanket of snow on top of that.
At 3 p.m., three clients riding single sleds followed behind me as I approached the last half of the field. To make a long story short, I broke through the ice and into about three feet of glacial-temp water. To make matters worse, I slipped and fell several times, becoming completely soaked. My immediate fear was that the dropping temperatures would freeze my sled into the field until spring. I tried to get the machine out of the water, but my Arctic Cat trail sled had too much water up under the cowling and simply wouldn’t budge, and I realized I couldn’t move it without assistance. I also think the clutch and belt were soaked and wouldn’t engage.
I had my clients double up, and we drove the remaining snowmobiles back to
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