By Bob Spiwak
It’s Monday and, as it has for the past month, this means it is snowing. But now it’s March and if you dig down five to 10 feet you might see some little flowers just aching to bloom — and be reported by Eric Burr, as is his custom. And it being the first week in March it’s also almost time to set your timepieces ahead for daylight saving time. You have more time to deal with chronological necessities with your sundial, which is probably close to the flowers mentioned above.
But first, a warning. Thanks to our source, Doug Devin, who is both informant and victim, we learned that Seattle is getting pretty snarky about using its traffic cameras. Devin got nailed a few weeks ago. He was driving (or so he is accused by a machine) 25 miles per hour in a 20-mile-per school zone. He admits that he may have been “The Perp,” the term used on TV cop shows, and is not upset about ponying up the fine. But the fine is a stunning $189. And, there were no orange lights blinking.
Closer to home and a lot higher, the snow depth at Harts Pass is currently 102 inches. Coincidentally, the snow/water content is at 102 percent of normal, 4 percent over last week and, as we remember, the highest reading in two or three years. It’ll probably bump up after the forecast storms go through this week. No panic, no need to find the water wings and rubber rafts yet.
This past week has somehow turned into DuLac remembrance time around our overstocked work area, which is a Mecca of bygone and forgotten stuff. Ms. Gloria was seeking a photo album and I was looking for tax stuff I had begun (and lost) two weeks ago. Diverted by albums of my own, I came across an 8-by-10-inch photo of the senior DuLacs walking up the drive preceded by son Andre, who in turn was carrying a staff and herding a duo of pigs before him. I believe it was a 4-H project.
Then, Gloria reminded me that Andre and his wife, Jessica, had a baby girl a few months ago. And out of a pile of detritus appeared a column I’d written in the March 18, 1999, issue of this newspaper. The lead item was Andre’s winning of a gold medal at a 5-kilometer skate ski race at Silver Star, near Vernon, B.C. He was first in a field of 20 under-13-year-olds, coming in two and a half minutes ahead of the second-place finisher. His dad, Dalton, was his ski-waxer.
Mentioned in that same column was the astounding performance of another local, Pat Norwil, now an electrical contractor in the valley. Then a Lost River resident, the guy I referred to in print as “Titanium Man” participated in the bicycle Ididasport 350-mile Wilderness Race, which followed the Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska. That’s 350 miles on a bike in ice, snow and whiteouts that makes our current weather seem like a backyard sand box.
Norwil was five hours in the lead when he lost the trail, possibly because the contestants were evacuated 100 miles into the race because of a blizzard. When the race was resumed, the snow machine tracks he was following did not look right, and after crossing three large lakes, he backtracked, found the correct trail and finished in second place, repeating his performance of the year before.
That guy does tend to make the recent Olympians appear coddled and woozy. Fifteen years later, I am still in awe of Norwil’s achievements. He is still working around the valley when not skiing with expatriate Mazaman Steve Barnett on Mount Baker and other hills to the north.