Well it was supposed to be a great weekend for a DX’pedition to our DX bus at Valhalla Beach about 75 miles North of Winnipeg. Wayne McRae and I were off for and excellent weekend of DX. After a January and most of February where the temperatures were cold even by Canadian prairie standards –40 with wind chills to –60 something) and several snow storms we were on our way to the hallowed DX site. The ride up was easy. The ice and snow that coated the road Wednesday and Thursday were no where to be seen. This was going to be a great trip.
I suppose the first clue I had to impending disaster was turning onto the road that leads to the farm where the DX bus is well sunk into the field after 10 years. The ditches that are 6 feet deep to handle spring run off were full to the road bed. That meant 6 feet of snow to our right and left down the gravel country road. No big deal this had happened before so Wayne and I kept driving to the farm. We got to the driveway to the now abandoned farm to find out it was totally drifted in. Oh well we had planned for this and had brought 2 good sturdy shovels to cut as path.
Maybe we are getting older or the snow higher and heavier but it took an hour to cut a path just long enough to fit both cars. We always take two cars in case one breaks down (It has happened before). Ok finally we are in the yard. The thought that this is all wrong has not yet sunk in. The snow is window high on my Ford Taurus as I squeeze out of the car to get geared up for the walk. You would think that would have been a hint but oh no we have thoughts of DX in our heads.
We now put on our winter walking outfits. Now for those of you who live well below the 49th Parallel this includes the following:Parka Ski-doo pants (snowmobile pants heavy warm and water proof) Heavy warm boots (mine are rated to –40) Mitts Toque
All properly outfitted we walk toward the barn where the 2 toboggans are stored. Upon these trusty winter material movers we will pile all of our gear and then walk the 1500 feet to the DX bus. Along the way to the barn we make a discovery. The snow is drifted more than knee deep. Not only that it is heavy wet snow that is “rotten”. This means we soon find ourselves sunk past our knees in snow. Ok maybe its only the yard which is normal but the field will be OK.
We finally have a good idea and decide to check out the snow on the field. Why we never did this before shoveling a path for the cars for an hour now alludes us.
We start toward the big open field where our 10 beverage antennas now lay buried under the snow. Now for the good part…the snow gets deeper. Soon we are past our knees deep in snow almost unable to move.
We now decide in our new found wisdom that maybe this is a mistake. We look out on the field around the barn and see it. It being more snow than we have ever seen there in over 10 years of going out to the site. We decide that a retreat back to the city would be the best idea we have had all day. Turning around in snow past your knees becomes a bit of a problem causing us to fall over. Great now hands and feet in the snow. Struggling to our feet we walk carefully back to the cars in our own foot steps. Like doing a mine field but with snow.
We strip out of our heavy snow gear and get back into our vehicles for the drive back home. Canadian Winter 1 DX’ers 0. This is the first time we have been shut out by winter in all our years of DX’peditions dating back to 1988.Anyone who tells you DX’ing is for wimps who just sit around listening to the radio needs to come up here to DX.
Remember On A Clear Day You Can Hear Forever