Baker Laporte

Baker Laporte

Snow Plough

Although I had been a surveyor for more than 10 years in the state of Pennsylvania, it wasn't until the winter of 1996 that I experience snow to the point where I really disliked it. It seemed that never stopped snowing that winter, and if you're familiar with how land surveyors operate, they tend to be either out of work or miserable whenever there is snow on the ground. This particular day was no exception, with approximately 18 inches of snow covered by a thin crust of ice that was almost enough to stand on before breaking through.

The day started out fairly simply, with us having to locate some wetland flags that were located in a field, approximately half a mile from the truck. It was difficult going across the field, because each time you begin to stand up on top of a thin crust of ice you would end up breaking through, which would make it more difficult with each and every step. When we finally reached our destination, it was discovered that I was the only person that had waterproof footwear available. Even though I was the crew chief, I was volunteered by the crew to locate the flags while they were on top of the hill with the instrument and note pad.

I have to admit, I was walking fairly gingerly around the area in order to locate these flags. I made sure to check each step, as I did not want to end up with a cold foot because of being so far away from the truck. Another reason I was being so careful is that my wife and I were trying to have a baby. We had been paying attention to implantation symptoms, with no luck, and constantly reviewing to learn more about her peak times of fertility so we could calculate and plan intercourse to conceive. Anyways, everything was going fairly well, and I was only one flag short of being complete when my foot finally broke through and I was up to my knee in water.

Let me tell you a little something about how rubber boots work. These boots fit over your regular boots in order to keep them dry, but they hold water inside as well as they hold water outside. Since my boot filled up with water, it wasn't long before my foot went from being cold to being completely numb. I called over the radio for them to get the last shot as quickly as possible so that I could get back to the truck and warm up my foot before any permanent damage set in.

Fortunately, I was not carrying anything except a range pole with the prism on top (referred to as a Jake staff), so I was able to make some fairly decent time going back across the field. The unfortunate thing was, I was still needing to step on top and break through the ice crust with each step. By the time I got back to the truck, I was exhausted.