HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT OPENS DOOR TO SNOWSHOEING
When I got the truck, a 1999 Ford F-150 XLT, it was out of a sense of practicality. We had just bought a house and were renovating it. We also intended to spend energy and time modifying our outside spaces since we do a fair bit of our living out of doors.
We needed to haul out old tile, broken-down fencing, dead hedges, carpeting, and more. We’d need to bring in plants, rock, slate, and lumber.
Since I needed a car anyway, we decided I’d pick up a truck, so to speak. I was with my dad when he bought his ’66 Ford F-100 from a rancher out in Manzanita in Southern Oregon, so I looked at Fords and chose a year-old long bed.
With the truck we could do whatever we wanted when it came to the house, on our own schedule. The V8 made it possible to run up steep hills with a yard of gravel without losing juice. The crew cab meant it was comfortable as well.
Like the turn in a sonnet, though, the truck changed complexion and added value that winter.
Before that year, winter shut down the woods. We’d hike and camp in the spring and summer, but winter gave us rain in the valley and walls of snow and ice in the mountains. Our favorite haunts were closed to us until the late mountain thaw.
But with the truck, we realized we could take a stab at snowshoeing. So we rented shoes and drove high up the side of our local mountain, coming in as close to the frozen trailhead as we could. With the truck, that was closer than we ever expected. It negotiated the elevation, the rain, the ice, and the washboard snow roads as no sedan ever could. A combination of the power, weight, comfort, and all-weather radials (with some chains in the back) meant we could get to any trail. The snowshoes themselves—we wound up buying in short order—were like tiny trucks for our feet. With time we could get safely out on the spur of a mountain or to an alpine lake, anywhere short of where you’d have to rope up.
The truck, which was bought to save money and help in a long-term project, became a joy as well and earned the name the Vulcan Fun Truck, for its combination of common sense and joy.