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Bug Attack  -  Great Gulf / Mt Washington   Tuesday, 5/20/03

Dana, you guys saw no bugs!?  Unbelievable!

Cheated to top.  Skied a few nice runs on lower angle stuff Ė 580ív  per as
long as you took the left dogleg for the final 150.í  Had some lunch.
Changed setup and headed toward Mt C.    Blah Blah Blah (translation below).
  And thenÖÖ   Humongous Swarms of flying insects  -  Out of Nowhere!
Thank goodness they werenít biting.  I mean, the sky did darken at a few
points.   You could hear their wings Ė millions of wings making a whispery
cellophaney sound, a sort of hiss.

Backing upÖ.   What a day.   6o degrees with a light breeze, a few thin
clouds.  My plan was just to watch folks on the steeper stuff.  It looked
reasonably tough on the way up.  Just the same, I carried skis and boots.
Long story short, I didnít ski.  Although at several points I almost did -
for example when a huge cloud of bugs had surrounded us at the top.  I could
have managed but it would have been hard.  I can see where your fitness
level needs to be very high to really enjoy steep terrain.   Watching was
fine.  I took in plenty of info to process for future skiing.  I do,
however, appreciate how perfect conditions were.  The angle, surface,
coverage, temps, etc were awesome I could tell.  So  I  AM kicking myself.
Take a look at this photo from last  year.
http://www.mountwashington.org/snowcover/hi-res/05/2002_05_20.jpg
So yeah, this week conditions were really good.   That photo looks much
scarier.

It didnít help my motivation to ski when, just before we arrived, a girl
slid to between the narrows and the bend.  Sounded like this was following
one turn.  When she finally got back to the top, she broke down crying and
released a tangible amount of tension.  She was fine after a few minutes.
But still, folks were talking about dangers and self arrest Ė there was a
minor mood thing there.  Again, all good to take in for processing.

There was some good skiing done though Ė many styles.  Jumpers, low riders,
boarders.

That is one cool natural phenomenon.   The way that snow just lays in there,
so deep, while all around hasnít had snow in weeks, is amazing.  Making me
even more ticked with myself is that it looked so good down low.  That extra
length and variety down low makes it a particularly appealing route.    Oh
well.

So I sat amid waves of bugs waiting for my friend Mark to climb back up
after his run.  As we headed back, we hit several stretches where these
inch-long winged black bugs were THICK.  They made you a little tense.  On
and inside my sunglasses.   Under the brim of my hat.    It was too hot to
wear long sleeves so there were at least 3 bugs on each arm at all times
(Had there been bugs at lunch, I might have brought a strategic item or
two).  Head down.  Move!  Wave and flick.    At the car, they were brutal.
Tons were crushed by gear and by us.  Some went down into the window cracks.
  Others became white stripes on the windshield.    Plenty bought it on the
road.   Think cheesey horror film.   We got outta there in a hurry.   There
were still some in the car today Ė 250 miles away.   Yikes!

After we got down below 3500í they were gone.  No sign of them down low.
Apparently a one day event.   You guys were there right before and right
after I was.   Strange.      Dana, did you see any remains??

Adjusted talley:  Iím not adding a day for those few runs but that did take
my number of days between 1st and last days to 205 eastern ski days.   I
donít know if in the future Iíll be taking advantage of the Ďfullí season
but wow!  Thatís a pretty good long season (duh!  The for-a-time somewhat
southern phlatlander didnít know).

I wasnít going to post since I whosed, but when all of you mentioned no
bugs, I had to tell the story.


Til Next Time
Todd Holden

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