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Oldtimers speak of a long lost trail that once mightily ascended oneof Vermont's behemoths.  Rare maps also tell of its once proudstature.   A departed prophat once showed me that it now holds a vasttreasure of powder-filled hardwood glades.  But beware, its secretsare well guarded.  More than one party seeking this Shangri-la hasbeen lost and trapped in its mysterious terrain.  The last time Isought to revisit this powder trove, its protective veil turned measide.
They say an ogre also guards the mountain's flanks.  Indeed, a shortwhile ago a friend met with the Ogre only to suffer mightily.  Thoughit had already been my intent to search again for this Shangri-la,with this knowledge, I decided that perhaps in searching for the Ogre,I might more easily find my goal.
Armed with my Hammerhead-mounted, Inspired phatties, coveredwall-to-wall with Phoreskins™, I began my adventure while others' dayswere ending.  Soon enough I encountered the escape route of my fallenfriend.  Was that a drop or two of blood or merely a trick of thelight?  As I climbed higher through the brushy woods other tracksjoined the one I followed.  Did one of these belong to the beast Isought?
The clouds of the approaching storm soon enveloped me accompanied byan immediate onslaught of fast falling snow.  Sweet.
Higher up, I encountered fresh moose tracks.  For a short while itappeared as if this gangly creature had been following the same tracksI now was.   Striped maples showed fresh scars of some animal'shunger—probably from the same moose.
After a bit more than an hour's skinning, I reached a bench.  Above meI knew that the mighty fortress walls of the mountain protecting itshighermost reaches lurked, but they were hidden in the storm.  Thelight was fast fading and though I was sure these were the Ogre'stracks next to my friend's, I dared not venture closer to its lair. However, I was not discouraged, below me lurked the treasure I hadfirst sought: a majestic stand of old, gnarled hardwoods protecting avast expanse of untracked powder.  I took shelter in a stand ofevergreens and prepared for my descent, keeping eye and ear alert lestI be spotted by the fearsome creature of legend.
The treasure was a sweet as I remembered and the snow even finer.  Iswooped and arced my way down the mountainside, breaking the silencewith an occasional whoop of joy.  The Ogre could not catch me now.
--Matt K.

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