Sledding Past Midnight - 02.21.00

On my Come To My Senses entry for Saturday the 19th of February, I wrote a paragraph or so about how I had gone sledding. Although it was one of my longer entries for the section, it still didn't nearly fully convey how much fun I'd had. It was one of those things that I hadn't done in a very very long time, and not only did it make me feel like a kid again, but I couldn't figure out why I'd kind of balked at the idea earlier in the evening.

The evening started out with 3 friends and I going to a rather cheap thrills sort of movie, and even after it got out at about 11:30, we were all still fairly undecided about what we were going to do. One person we knew that had some sleds weren't even there, so we gave them a call afterwards while the rest of us weighed out the options of dancing versus sledding.

As it turns out, the person who had the idea originally (and who had the sleds) didn't want to go anymore, but told us where the sleds were if we wanted to get them. Another person in our group had a couple sleds of their own, so between the two groups, we were going to have enough for everyone. We finally decided that we were going to do it, then broke in our seperate directions and went to put on some clothes that were more suitable for the snow and cold.

After re-convening at a central house again, we went by the place that was supposed to have the sleds only to find out that they weren't there. We called the person back who told us about the stash and they apologized, but the fact remained that we didn't think we had enough sleds. Finally, one more person in the party cancelled and we all decided to go sledding anyway, rotating the 2 sleds between the four of us.

Of course, when we got there, all our worries were laid to rest. Not only was there nobody else around at about 12:30 in the morning, but there were sleds all over at the top of the hill that people had just left laying there. Now, instead of having to rotate 2 between four of us, there were literally 2 different sleds or more for each of us.

The first time up on top of the ramp (yes, there was even a steel ramp built so you could get more speed), I looked out across the large hill and took in a deep breath. My eyes were still sort of adjusting to the darkness, but I was still surprised just how well and much I could see for it being so late. The moon was bright and even the light from the nearby city seemed to help illuminate and reflect off the white covering of snow.

I made sure that my jacket was fastened, then hopped on the sled and took off down the hill. I was sitting on my knees the first go-around and ended up bashing them a couple times on icey spots on the way down the hill. About 200 yards later, I rolled off the sled and literally ran back up the hill. Nobody else had gone yet, so I was racing to get back up and go again by the time everyone took their first launch.

Trudging back up through the snow in my heavy clothes, I was surprised by how much energy I still had left. Even though I'd played racquetball for an hour and a half and ran a mile earlier in the evening, I was making good time up the hill. When I stopped at the top, I still didn't feel very out-of-breath, and I attributed it to the clear cool air and my exhiliration for doing something that I hadn't in years.

I ran up the stairs to the ramp again, sat down on my sled and watched the dark forms of my friends moving down the hill on their sleds. I concentrated as much as I possible, but still couldn't recall the last time I'd actually gone sledding. I figured I'd better make the most of this new trip and burst down the ramp again.

I bailed off of my sled only about halfway down and walked up with the group. Everyone was laughing and talking just slightly louder than they really needed to, but the whole environment and situation was completely infectious. After hearing a dog barking in the distance, we almost all instintively started imitating it at the top of our lungs.

Over the course of the next hour and a half, we all went down the hill a bunch more times. We raced down the seperate ramps, we tried (successfully and unsuccessfully) doing trains, we spun around on disc sleds, and we yelled and had fun the whole damn time.

At about 2am in the morning, we were all lined up on the top of the ramp. Just as we began discussing how many more runs we were going to do and how it was starting to get colder, a cop car pulled up into the parking lot behind us and turned a spotlight directly towards us. Instead of stopping what we were doing, though, every single one of us hopped on the nearest sled and took off down the ramp and onto the hill.

We were yelling and laughing the whole way down and I craned my neck to see if I would see a shadow of an authority figure make it's way over the crest of the hill and stand by the ramp where we had just been. Instead, though, we all made it to the bottom and got off our sleds and started hauling them back to the top. The wind had definitely picked up in the past 30 minutes and I was again reminded that my gloves were completely soaked. Because of the imminent threat of the police car that was probably still waiting for us, we decided that we'd just sledded our last run.

Imagine our surprise when we got to the top of the hill and both the spotlight and police car were gone. Thinking we'd made it off lucky, we put the sleds back that we'd borrowed for the next people to come out and made our way out to the parking lot. We all had snow and ice chunks caked to various parts of our clothing and proceeded to spend several minutes brushing each other off and dancing funny moves to shake it off.

At approximately 2:15, we left the sledding hill and headed out. We were hungry and stopped off a greasy-spoon type restaurant to get some quick food. When I finally arrive home at about 3:00am, I realized that I didn't have my mittens with me any longer and remembered that I had put them on top of the car just before leaving the park. They were old torn-up ones and I was tired, so I let it be and went home to finally crash.

The next day, nearly all the snow melted, and it made me even more glad I'd gone.