Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Freedom Of The Hills

Much of northern New England looks like this right now:

But, you don't have to spend your days down in the muck. You can head for the hills, climb high, and frolic in snow and ice. So I did today, for one last (?) reprise of winter hiking. I had a long list of things to do today, but the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I couldn't resist the draw of the alpine zone. I'd already put my boots and crampons and ice axe down in the basement, so had to haul them all out again.

It was worth it. No longer compelled to get to the top of any particular mountain, I climbed up to the rocky col between Washington and Monroe, where there are two tiny tarns called Lakes of the Clouds. There's also a mountain club hut there (closed for winter) of the same name, but often called "Lakes of the Crowds" in the summer.

No crowds today, though. The snow had piled so deep next to the hut that I could walk up a snow-ramp onto the hut roof, where I sunbathed for a while.

I took a photo of a guy eating a sandwich.

I admired the ice nearby-- evidently the "lakes" had overflowed recently, forming great blue terraces of ice over the lip of the ravine. They reminded me of the travertine terraces at Yellowstone.

Then I set off on an aimless ramble around the above-treeline world, an exquisite treat feasible only in the winter, and only on the rarest of days. This sign is not an understatement (College Roommate will attest):

Half of the descent was a rapid butt glissade, a poor man's luge that is about the most fun you can have with your pants on. It gives you a weapons=grade wedgie, though.

Any mountaineer will tell you that the first rule of glissading is "take off your crampons first". I think the first rule should be: "No matter how exciting it gets, don't stick your tongue out between your teeth." Easy to lose a tongue that way.


Blogger westcoastloon said...

That is, hands down, the best definition of glissading I have ever heard. Sounds like it was worth it.

3/30/06, 1:42 AM  
Anonymous girltuesday said...

sweet pics tg.

3/30/06, 7:37 AM  
Blogger Turboglacier said...

Oh yes, that reminds me-- the second rule of glissading: keep your hands down.

Thanks gt! (something was wrong with the photos... wasn't letting you click to see big version... think I've fixed it...)

3/30/06, 7:46 AM  
Anonymous girltuesday said...

i got big photos. the snapshot of your turkey sandwich now serves as my screen-saver.

(it was a toss up between you & SoE's GIANT BUG photos. but you won.)

3/30/06, 12:02 PM  
Anonymous hilllady said...

Re: the sandwich--why provolone?

3/30/06, 12:19 PM  
Blogger Katinka said...

Hang this Turbo unmasked? Or is someone else holding your sandwich??

(nice pics! :)

3/30/06, 11:23 PM  

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