My car, stuck in the mud, somewhere in Hackettstown.When: Saturday, March 26th, in the morning.
Where: Budd Lake and Hackettstown
What: Trying to fish, not succeeding.
Weather: Nasty. 23-degrees and windy.
Moon: Didn't really matter.
Two things that I have learned in my new life are.....
1.) That expectations are recipes for disappointment.
2.) That sometimes you have to know when to throw in the towel.
As I was heading west on I-78 with the sun creeping up over my shoulder, my thoughts were focused on catching an early-season pike from the shores of Budd Lake. Even if that didn't pan out, I was sure that I could at least pull a bass or two from Super-Secret Farm Pond X in Hackettstown. In the bizarre event that didn't work out either, I figured the worst case scenario would be a comfortable drive through one of the prettier parts of the state.
I was wrong on all counts.
When I arrived at Budd Lake it was a bitter 23-degrees. Being an ice-fisherman, I can normally stand such cold-temperatures, however, a swift 15-20mph wind coming straight off the lake made that a little difficult. Having my hands exposed to that wind and cold for even a couple minutes brought a degree of pain that I was not willing to tolerate on what was supposed to be a relaxing Saturday morning.
So, with higher hopes that the trees surrounding Super-Secret Farm Pond X in Hackettstown would provide shelter from the hefty blow, I departed from Budd Lake no worse for the wear.
After taking the short drive from Budd to this covert location, I soon realized that parking was going to be a challenge. Since the pond is set back in the woods, it is necessary for one to park on the side of the road in the grass. However, the shoulder where I normally park was still covered in a foot of snow. This would have been no challenge for my gas-guzzeling, 4WD Chevy Blazer, but for my fuel-efficient Pontiac sales-machine, it wasn't even an option. Determined as I was though, after a couple passes I decided that one open spot of dirt on the opposite side of the road would provide the space I needed to do a little fishing.
As soon as I pulled off the road, it became brutally apparent that said "open spot of dirt" was actually an inch of ice covering a couple feet of mud. It took mere moments to get deep enough to where I was not getting out.
Thank God for Triple-A.
After an hour wait during which I stood outside the car for fear that sitting in it would add weight and further complicate my predicament, the tow-truck driver arrived. I immediatley let him know that this was not the best decision that I had made all day, but that the day was still very young. I also informed him of my intentions to go fishing and assured him that I had in fact NOT been drinking and driven off the side of the road. I'm not sure that telling what I had done was intentional made him any more confident in my intelligence.
It did take a little "repositioning," but after a short time, I was free to go. I told the kind gent that I was calling it quits and going home, to which he replied, "it looks like I got to do all of the fishing this morning."
Yes...you did. Thank you.