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Be kind to children and small animals, be generous to local  
charities, love you family and friends, and sometimes Fate smiles  
down on you. Fate was looking cruel about a week ago, what with this  
persistent mixed precipitation cycle we've been in since Christmas.  
But let's rewind a little...

Fate was doing it's thing back in October, too. I did some inside  
research, and came up with a foolproof plan to comandeer the famous  
Mansfield Stone Hut for 6 days in March. Plan was foolproof, alright:  
but the Man Named Scott who executed the plan was no fool, and the  
plan fizzled horribly. Scott was reduced to frantic phone calling --  
like a desperate Deadhead before the Highgate concerts, speed dialing  
and holding endlessly until making it through to the Hutmaster during  
the first hours of "First Come, First Served Leftovers" frenzy.  
Here's what he had to say that morning:

> From: Scott Danis <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: November 5, 2005 10:15:47 AM EST
> To: Wesley Alan Wright <[log in to unmask]>, Jim Clapp  
> <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: hut
>
> december
> 1,2,4,13-15,19,29
> jan
> 3
>
> mar
>  21
> apr
> 10 -16
>
>
> By the time I got through (10:00am) January 24 and 25(Tuesday  
> Wednesday) were the only dates left that were together.  So I  
> reserved them.

Fate. Cruel fate.

Until January 23, that is. Scott, Leader of Men, had also secured a  
budget base camp at the foot of Morse Mountain for that same week. So  
begins the Chronology:

Monday, January 23: snows lightly all day. Mountains pick up 3 well  
earned inches. I go to work, then proceed directly to Smugglers  
Village. Scott and I tune out families and tune in Star Trek TNG, the  
Man Show, bits of the Blues Brothers, and Mad Max Road Warrior.  The  
Bonding begins.

Tuesday, January 24: Scott leaves by car to fetch children. I leave  
by chair to traverse Spruce Pond. The officially abandoned Snuffy's  
trail still holds powder. A ski down Spruce, a short bus ride, a long  
lift ride, and I finally drop my pack at the Stone Hut door. Then I'm  
dropped by a big patch of sopping wet snow gun detrius, which grabs  
my skis and holds them tight below the fourth snowgun down Sunrise  
trail while my body continues to travel at 20 MPH end over end,  
slamming back of head and shoulder into the ground and slamming ski  
edge into shin. Ouch. I get up and shake it off -- and I'm getting X- 
rays tomorrow (truth). Skiing is generally OK: not phenomenal, but  
beating the expectations on the street. Jim and boy and Scott and  
girls rendezvous, ski, settle in. Then A funny thing starts to  
happen, late in the day: it starts to snow.

Wednesday, January 25: 7:45 AM, first tracks. Plan was to go in for  
breakfast. Plans changed. Skied powder instead. Roger appears. Skied  
more powder. Characters come and go across the set, we ski more and  
more. Eventually Roger and I skip out on the Real Fathers and make  
2nd, 3rd tracks down Bruce. Schvweet. Trip also affords stop at  
conveniently located convenience store for much needed essentials:  
contact lens saline, 2 more reebs, bag of Cheese Doodles. Back up  
hill for apres ski and candlelight dinner: I packed Sausages. Scott  
packed Sausages. Roger packed Sausages. Jim packed Sausages -- and  
that every popular camp food, frozen pizza. Then A funny thing starts  
to happen, late in the day: it starts to snow. Again. Harder, harder,  
harder.

Thursday, January 26: 4:15 AM, gotta go pee, which means gotta go  
outside. Still storming, visibility 15 feet. Yes: this is fate.  
Couple more hours sleep, then Jim and boy and Scott and Girls pack up  
at 0-dark:30 to go: Justin for  home and school, Jim to work, Scott  
to take girls to school and then to smuggs, Roger to work, me to...  
ski. Then Roger makes a phone call -- he's looking really ill. Then I  
say, hey Scott: go to Smuggs, but come across to here, ski with me.  
Then Jim says, I hate you guys -- but lemme see what I can do. 7:45,  
first tracks AGAIN. And then again and again and again and again and  
again and now it's 11 AM and then the radio goes off it's Scott and  
he's on the bus from Spruce and then the radio goes off and it's Jim  
and he's in the parking lot and suddenly, the Band is Back Together.  
We ski some more fresh tracks -- it's 2 PM on a powder day and I'm  
still pulling runs out of my hat -- and then the Bruce and then we're  
done. Except I'm still two lift rides and a 20 minute tour from  
Scott's car. 4:30 PM, drag my dead carcass and 15-reeb-lighter pack  
across Parking Lot 1, Smuggler's Notch, feeling very smugglerish.

Friday, January 27: Stone huts trip over, but ski week is not. Time  
for Friday ski club. Meet Jumpin' Jimmy for five runs at MRG. Both of  
us a bit grumpy: snow is good, but not Mansfield quality. Plus, we're  
hurtin' old men

Saturday, january 28: not done yet. Vickie gets a chance to kick my  
butt around MRG. I enjoy every minute.

So now it's all over, and fate turns another direction. The Good  
Fates head west to British Columbia (another foot at Panorama today:  
47 days and counting) -- while the Bad Fates settle back into the  
Greens, slapping Evan upside the head on their way in. Time to rest,  
recover, earn a few dollars at work and points at home, get ready for  
the next turn of fate.

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