Against our better judgement, and like the creatures known as lemmings, we did as we are programmed to do. Yes, we foolishly strapped skis to feet and lights to heads and hiked up the Underhill side of Mansfield in the dark.

On all other night missions this winter, we were greeted with some form of powder snow. Not last night. It was payback time for all the easy hikes and silly powder smiles. Back to the harsh reality that it isn't always soft and carvable.

The trail was a moonscape of frozen postholes, dog tracks, and snowboard berms. Skinning was hellish, as the fibers refused to grip the glaze that set up as the sun dropped down. It was at least 50% arm/pole effort to get up most of the steep sections. I thought more than once about turning back or taking my skis off, but I knew it would only give my so called "friends" more ammunition to use against me. So I struggled on, wishing it was a week ago and powderlicious.

Kudos to Wes, who survived my earlier mockings concerning his "crampon" attachments, and went on to use them to beat me to the top. It truely was a night to crampon, and not ski.

Or descent must have been audible in Underhill Center. The sound of ski edges grating over frozen chowder is not a pleasent sound.

The good news is that the bae levels are in effect no different than before the thaw last weekend. I only measured a six inch decrease in snowpack at the upper north facing, measuring log.

The bad news is that it will take either snow, warm temps or brutal grooming to make skiing any fun.

MRG friday...?

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