On a rural road in Anoka County, 'moving dirt' has become a spectator sport.
"It's been a constant flow of traffic," says Dave Langseth of St. Francis.
And the traffic has been flowing since last Thursday. At times, you may see just a couple of cars parked on Post Road in Burns Township. At other times, you may see 30 vehicles. Dozens of people are stopping, looking and focusing on a streak of yellow behind the trees, just off the road.
Up close, you can see why it might draw so much attention.
All that's visible is the top of a very large backhoe.
What you can't see is in the bog - sunk 15 to 20 feet.
"It's totally submerged. Only a portion of the cab is showing at this time and the boom," says Langseth.
The backhoe got stuck the other day trying to pull out a smaller tractor that was being used to groom the snowmobile trail.
That too is stuck somewhere in the bog.
"Due to the peat bottom, there's a lot of heat and that keeps it from freezing too deep," says Langseth.
And so, crews will build a road to make the ground stable enough to bring in more equipment to recover the backhoe.
James Dehn and John Altenweg will watch it all happen.
"That sunk in the slew there, that peat bog. That's a son of a gun to get out you know," says Altenweg.
These two men, who have been friends for 50 years, are passing some time on a quiet Monday morning.
"They got a project out there because the tracks on that backhoe they're froze in pretty good by now," says Dehn.
"Did that backhoe have tracks on it? Oh yah? That I didn't know," says Altenweg.
Perhaps for James Dehn, John Altenweg, and others who stop to watch, the recovery operation itself is less interesting than the conversations about it.
"Nothing happens that often out here. It's interesting you know," says Ed Gully of Burns Township.
No one was hurt in the accident.
Crews will build a road and then wait for it to freeze.
When the ground is more stable, they'll try again to recover the sunken equipment.
(Copyright 2008 by KARE11. All Rights Reserved.)