Photos from my trip to Big Sur with Ruth.
Went to an Obama rally last night, trying to find out if he’s really all that. Waited in the mile long line for three hours with Ruth Miller, my former editor at the Tech, and now my neighbor in the office park. The line was something to behold, full of middle school girls, old fogies, and more sober college students than should ever be in one place. Volunteers tried to get us to call prospective voters, but I demurred, having done that for MoveOn before, and knowing how painful it is. Lyndon Larouche supporters were out, spouting their nonsense about the hyperinflationary shock wave, and nattering on about the Weimar Republic. While I am concerned about our current accounts deficit, I am less than convinced that Larouche is the guy to fix it. Call me when we’re burning dollars for heat, and we’ll talk.
When finally allowed inside, we got a tiny slice of a view, but were able to hear rousing speeches by democratic luminaries such as: the mayor of Lynn, some Asian woman I had never heard of, Deval Patrick, John Kerry, and that dynamic, fresh faced phenomenon, Ted Kennedy. Kerry stank up the place, and there were some heckles from the back about his particular track record on presidential elections. Obama took the stage at around eleven, and gave a speech he probably has given hundreds of times before. It’s a pretty standard stump speech about new politics, and change, and all that good stuff. Still, he managed to be engaging, because he is one charismatic sonofabitch.
Found some good pictures by flickr user Kori Leigh. I was nowhere near this close.
Post ur-Tuesday update:
Looks like he’s still in it, so I’m pretty psyched. Note that most of his wins were in non-coastal, less traditionally blue states. This bodes well for general electability. It’s also interesting that the division between Clinton and Obama voters appears to be class, not race. It remains to be seen if he can adopt the Edwards message and really reach out to poor voters. Of course, his experience as a community organizer is relevant.
I also read this essay by Robin Morgan, which is a pretty compelling feminist call for Hillary, and am implicit critique of Obama. While I do find it compelling, I still think that Hillary brings out the worst of the Democratic Party, embodying all of the Clinton triangulation with none of her husband’s charisma. On a purely policy level, she just doesn’t offer enough of a counterpoint to McCain to have a chance in November. Sorry ladies, but I don’t think it’s your year.
This weekend I drove up to the mountains for some work on the MIT cabin at Intervale. By trading my blood, sweat and tears, I now have a key to a great base for further adventures in the Whites. After cutting down trees all day on Saturday, and gorging myself with meat Saturday night, I thought a hike was only appropriate for Sunday. I convinced a few other folks to join me on a loop of Huntington and Tuckerman ravines on Mt Washington. I didn’t tell them that the AMC guidebook lists the route as the “most difficult regular hiking trail in Whites.” If they had been warned, they might not have followed me into the breach.
As it was, they were glad they came. It was a gorgeous, clear fall day, with just the right chill in the air to take the edge off the strenuous climb. The trail starts off on the regular Tucks highway, but after Huntington diverges, becomes very steep. There are parts that require hand over hand climbing, and those unsure of their footing might prefer a rope. I made like a mountain goat and scampered up. Having trail running shoes as opposed to real boots was a blessing, because I could jam my feet in cracks and smear on smooth faces. We topped out of the ravine in the Alpine Garden, and I remembered that it was one of the places we scattered Ann’s ashes years ago. I said a silent prayer as we walked across the field, enjoying the sunshine and the spectacular view. Then we turned left and came down Lion’s Head, instead of Tuckerman. Had dinner at a family restaurant in Lincoln, where they had a painted saw with hymns and a cross on it. A cultural experience, to say the least. Then a hurried drive back to Boston, and an exhausted shower. The perfect end to a perfect weekend.
Facing the end of the semester work crunch, I decided to play hooky and ski Tuckerman Ravine. I got Jared to join me, and the Extreme Team assembled. We set out at the crack of dawn (for college students, this means 7am) and got to Pinkham by 10. The parking lot was full, which was expected on a bluebird spring weekend. Hiked to Hojos in a little less than two hours, which was good time given our lack of non-typing exercise. The rangers told us that the Lunch Rocks should be avoided due to icefall, and the right gully was closed because of crevasse danger. So we heeded their advice and spent the day on the left side, hitting three variations on the left gully route. The face gets steeper going further right, so we started at something that looked reasonable, and progressed to a final run that was probably 55 degrees. It wasn’t so bad going up, but turning around and looking down made the legs quiver. It was a truly righteous day, and Jared’s got the scars to prove it.
Dismayed by my datelessness as Valentines Day approached, I decided to reaffirm my masculinity by going skiing this weekend. Sharing a romantic campfire with another man did the trick.
I left early Saturday morning for the drive to Cannon with Yeuhi. Like on most of my MITOC trips, I’d never met him before, but we settled into a rhythm quickly. We met some other folks at Cannon, and enjoyed the bluebird day. The snow was fair, but my new skis were sweet. My legs were shot by around 2, so I headed to the deck for a drink in the sun. Not a bad way to end the day.
Leaving Cannon, we headed to Camelot to stay the night. We had planned on meeting Martin, a keyholder, there; but he didn’t arrive until after 9. We started a fire, and enjoyed the flickering warmth and polished off a sixpack of Sam Adams. Alcohol is a vasodilator, and so non-ideal for really cold weather, but it hit the spot and made the time pass more enjoyably.
Woke bitterly early on Sunday to drive to Jay. Met Chris and (another) Josh in the parking lot. We found the trailhead and skinned up two miles to Big Jay. It’s right across an untracked valley from the ski resort, and it was full of the most powder I’ve ever seen in New England (3-4 feet). My legs burned by the end of the climb, and I had to remove my skis a few times and crawl upward on my hands and knees, enlisting the help of nearby saplings. Not the most dignified method, but it worked.
The descent was hairy for the first few feet, with tight trees and a steep drop. But after that it opened up, and we were in a maple grove as clear as any inbounds glade. The powder made executing real tele turns a little difficult, as bending my knee would force my skis deep under the snow. I feel over more than a few times, got snow down my pants, and enjoyed every minute of it. In the end, it was a lot of work for one run, but I was tired and happy at the end of the day. Ate dinner at the Common Man in Lincoln NH, and drove south just in time for the traffic at the tolls in Manchester. Stupid massholes, coming up north just for the weekend!
Exploring the lesser known hikes around Big Sur, found Partington Canyon. The Tan Bark trail ascends through a foggy redwood grove, then steeply up to the Tin House (said to be built for Roosevelt, as a quiet spot to write his memoirs). Although I was ready for a swim after climbing 2,000ft in 4 miles, it’s way too cold. Don’t let the color fool you, this isn’t the Tropics.
Hiked to beautiful Dardanelles Lake with John and Jennifer. It was wonderful to spend time with them, and to be in the high country again. Living in California looks better every day.
Before work starts, I felt like exploring the coastline. Besides, I sort of missed the car and the open road. I drove south on US 1 planning on just going to Big Sur, but had enough fun on the curves that I kept going toward Hearst Castle. By the time I got there, Xanadu was closed, but the drive was worth the $20 in gas it cost me. The color and definition of the light was incredible, and made for some pretty decent photographs.