Stuck happens

I drove to a place so special this morning I about stayed there all day.

Ok, so maybe I did get Ol’ Red a little stuck.

How was I supposed to know I’d sink to my axles a few feet from dry dirt, over where marsh plants sprouted from land with scattered pockets of water?

And I really didn’t need my buddy Ed Markel to put a tow-strap on the back of Ol’ Red and use his four-wheel drive, which he’d parked nearby on dry ground, to pull me out.

I could have worked a bit and driven my huntin’ truck right on out of there -

-after a drought of at least three months.

It’s not the first time I got myself stranded in the outdoors and it probably won’t be the last.

Anytime you take a machine down the highway there’s the chance you’re not coming back as early as you’d hoped. The odds go up about 100X when you get off of pavement or gravel.

Getting stuck in mud or snow drifts is a possibility and we usually only have ourselves to blame. My worst was looking out the window for rabbits around brushpiles and not noticing a little 90-degree turn in the road. My little Ford Fiesta was totally buried in the snow drift I hit at 30 m.p.h.

(Front-wheel-drive does you no good when your front wheels are two feet above solid ground, trust me.)

Oh well, at least after the neighboring landowner pulled me out he gave us permission to hunt the property.

Flat tires are going to happen, especially if you spend much time in the Flint Hills. My personal record is two tires going flat at once. A buddy had three totally flat when he came back from a turkey hunt one spring evening.

And all of us who cherish time outdoors have called others with the same dedication to come to the rescue. No money changes hands for the trouble, the hero never really says much about it to the victim. No words of humiliation are said.

Most of the time.

Many years ago a friend from Lawrence had a new Jeep and a new girlfriend. He brought both to a popular shooting preserve for a little showing-off one snowy afternoon.

About two hours after leaving the club house he was back, covered in mud and snow from a long cross-country hike. Through his huffing and puffing were words of profanity and frustration that the four-wheel drive in his new rig didn’t work.

He’d almost caught his breath when the new girlfriend came driving the new Jeep down the driveway.

When asked how she’d gotten the Jeep from the snow she said something like, “It wasn’t hard. I read the owners manual and followed the steps for locking it into four-wheel-drive. It was all right there in print and I just drove right out after locking-in the hubs.”

Sometime during the next few days she became my friend’s ex-girlfriend.