Posted by: Sally Ingraham | December 18, 2007

Pole Troubles

This is a piece I wrote for my writing course. It showcases another facet of that trip we took on the Boreals – still the only time we have ventured out on them so far this year!

Click click click….click…click click.

My boyfriend stood in front of me, stalled in the snow, his Boreals half buried and one of his ski poles in his hands. The other pole was stabbed into a foot and half drift, his gloves balanced precariously on top.

Click click…clickclickclickclick.

I took deep breaths, turning my eyes from his fleece covered back to the wide sweep of the carriage road ahead. It bent round a corner and disappeared into snow-frosted trees and a tumble of mountain boulders. I focused on the squirrel tracks that paralleled our own plodding ski trail, and fought off growing irritation.

Click click click…click.

My boyfriend turned and turned the sections of his telescoping pole, attempting to lock it back in place after almost fifteen minutes of twisting it in what I was convinced had to be the wrong direction. A breeze sprang up behind me and slipped into the space between my neck and my coat. I shivered, and clenched my teeth.

We had set out from our car so confidently only an hour ago, eager to try our new skis. There was rarely over a foot of snow to play in this early in December, so we were feeling particularly pleased with ourselves.

Breaking a trail with our short, fat Boreals soon proved to be much more than we had bargained for. An hour of sweat and struggle, and heavy shuffling steps that bore no similarity to the smooth glide we had imagined, hadn’t even brought us far enough to catch a glimpse of Jordan Pond.

Click click. “I think it’s broken,” my boyfriend said. Click click.

Acadia National Park, there on the carriage road that ribbons round the side of Penobscot Mountain, was quiet that day. The hum of automobiles was muffled. The animals had left tracks but were themselves invisible. The wind rustled a branch now and then. In the space between, the stillness was so complete that it seemed to grow into a presence like that of another person. I found myself wishing that it was my only companion.


“Oh. There it goes.”

Satisfaction comes in many forms I suppose. For him, it came from being clever enough to “fix” his ski pole. For me it came some time later, after we had finally shuffled on, gotten our view of the frozen sweep of Jordan Pond, and then retraced our steps. Making it back to the car, having had the gumption to get out of it to begin with – within that deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, I forgot about the ache in my legs and how badly I had wanted to poke my boyfriend in the back with my own poles.”

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