Stevens Says: The Snowy Challenges of the Horseshoe

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It was a place called the Horseshoe in my childhood hometown of Swoyersville. It was actually a pond made up largely of runoff and so it came and went with the seasons and the mine workings. It was divided by a railroad track set on an embankment. There were only two trains a day on that track and none on weekends which allowed kids to enjoy free rein of the Horseshoe in winter.

The embankment, depending on your age, was as high as Mount Everest or merely a minor obstacle encountered on the way to ice skating. Thirty feet or so is my best guess but even at that, it was perfect for the most challenging winter fun in a kid’s life: sled riding.

One waited patiently for a spot to open in the line of kids at the top of the embankment which allowed a driver to move his/her snow chariot into place. It was then balanced carefully on the edge of the high ridge as it’s operator climbed aboard. The sled rocked back and forth building the anticipation until either gravity took command or some mischievous sole kicked it and away it went.

The ride was a glorious trip, the sled picking up speed to the very limits of traveling sound, nay, light. The sled drivers’ screams combined with others on the downhill run as all shot out onto the ice, the cold wind made colder still by the unimaginable speeds acquired. The sled lost the speed, gradually, until dying out completely in a bed of weeds on the opposite shore. The ride was over, but not the day. It was winter and the fun had just begun.  

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