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I think it was late December 2004 when I thought it couldn't possibly
be any worse for that time of year. Looking back to a year ago, 12/17
was not a terrible day at all - friend Ben and I spent it lapping a
reserved Castlerock Run/Cotillion and Middle Earth in delectable wind
slab and powder. Two years ago at this time the TD was seeing plenty
of tracks (prior to the brutal X-Mas meltdown).

I don't really have a point, except to say that yes, things really do
suck at the moment in the snow dept. Amidst the mid-October weather on
Saturday, however, I managed to get lady friend on skis for the first
time in 10 years. With free Bolton passes and a set of cheap rentals,
we graduated in the span of four runs from the Mitey Mite to the
Snowflake to Mid-Mtn Lift. First run down Beech Seal was described as
a little bit steep and scary, but 8 laps later it was clear that
athleticism and shaped skis have their benefits when it comes to
remembering old muscle motions. I did my best to be a good teacher,
which means I generally kept my mouth shut (except in warning to look
up the hill at every death merge, err trail junction at Bolton).
Conditions were springlike but trending firmer as the afternoon wore
on, the thick fog freezing on tree branches by mid-mountain elevation.

Today I reveled in extended stick season, looping on foot from Neb
Notch up the LT to the Overland (a/k/a Needles Eye?). Interesting
possibilities observed along with a collapsed rescue cache, the
primeval dishpan del diablo, and another folding saw, which is even
nicer than the one I found a few months back in the woods near
Sugarbush. The saddle is still holding a blanket of slushy snow (4"?),
despite how warm, gray and muddy the lower elevations are. There was
clear delineation at the ~2500' contour, above which temps hovered in
the mid 30s and the wind flexed muscle.

Observing the local landscape this weekend, I was continually reminded
of Dana's PNW visions - lawns and fields are a bright green color,
with only the whitish backdrop of the higher ridgelines to hint at
something resembling a typical 12/17.

-eo

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