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Yogi Berra had it right, it really _ain't_ over 'til the buxom diva gets
center stage...

The reports from the driveby commuter hadn't been encouraging. The upper
portions of the trails at Wachusett appeared bare or nearly so from the
vantage point of Rt 2.  Heading up from Concord to darkening skies after
work the expectations were low, the mood somber.

Turning up Mountain road the views of the trails were somewhat better:
As reported, the upper trails were very sketchy but glimpses through the
trees were hearting- not the best cover, but turns _could_ be made!

Arpeggia a capella:

Dropping the car by the park gate the 1/4 mile walk in light drizzle to
the intersection with the Conifer trail was uneventful.  As the trail came
into view around the bend it didn't look all that bad.  But it proved to
be an illusion.  The cover at the road crossing was 5' deep, but it
dissapeared at the road edge.  Above the road was a wall to wall gray
carpet extending only 60 vertical feet up the consistent 20 degree grade.

Below the road it was a 5 yard grass patch to the nearest brown tongue of
muddy corn, with perhaps another 100 vertical of low angle glit before it
petered out.  But the upper shot looked worth it!

Herringboning up the east edge of the trail on the rain-softened surface it
was clear that the turns would prove to be pretty sweet.  And sweet they
were- all 10 of them!  D.C. al Capo!

A handful of yo-yos later it was time to move on, leaving the slope painted
with the 5 white locks of decent tracks neatly separated by the braids of
herringbone track.

Adagio:

Carrying the skis further up the road, the 10th Mountain trail wasn't
encouraging.  From the road on up it was brown and dry.  Below, it was
possible to ski 150 vertical on thin cover before it dissappeared into
the morass of manky muddy muck.  Maybe later, but it didn't look worth it.

Crescendo e glissando:

Heading further up the road the piece de resistance appeared:  The Smith-
Walton trail had good cover extending 250-300' above the road, with but
one narrows at a drainage berm where it was still 15' wide. Booting up the
20-25 degree slope the surface varied between an inch of glop on grey ice
to bare soft glacier, to dirty corn.  At the narrows were the remains of
2 kickers, apparently built by enterprising snowboarders.

From the vantage point high on the pitch, the lower trail was visible, with
good cover save a few trail-wide mud & grass stripes at the drainiage control
berms- this was going to be a good one!

With freshening winds and harder rains the descent started with a couple
dozen hard cranks, interrupted by catching air on the lower kicker before
ripping a few super-G turns down to the road.  Not bothering to take off
the skis for the 15' of asphalt the run continued with sweet & easy telemarks
on the carpet of muddy corn.  A hundred vertical feet above the bottom of
the trail the last of the skiable snow petered out to mud. Great! Time to
do another?

Crack! The echoing thunder gong of the approaching storm cell faded to the
rising applause of the wind & rain in the trees.  It was time to go, the
show was over, but as I bushwhacked it back to the car with the bucolic
aroma of my sweat & rain soaked sweater in my nostrils the sweet finale
replayed over & over in my head.


dana

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