Today was just about perfect. I woke at 5:30 having only slept a few hours, picked up Drew, Greg and Jeff, and headed north. Three hours of driving, and one obligatory stop at Einstein’s later, we were at the Cog Railway base and faced with a crowded parking lot. Seems like other people noticed the recent snowfall and nice weather. No worries, there’s plenty of room on the mountain for everyone.
We ascended the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail, which I hadn’t climbed since I was 12. It’s steeper than I remember, but one of the more direct routes to the summit on the west side. I wasn’t in peak physical condition, thanks to my lack of sleep and thesis belly, but I made it eventually. 3.8 miles, 3700 feet and three hours later, we were at the summit with skis on. Triumphant pictures were taken, and lunch was consumed in the protective windscreen of the oldest building on the summit. We skied the back towards Lakes of the Clouds, harvesting the fresh corn that had softened in the afternoon sun. I stopped to take a nap while the other guys climbed back up for extra laps.
With clouds appearing and shadows starting to creep across our exit path, we decided to pack it in around 3:30. We traversed to Lakes of the Clouds, skiing across the lake surface and down Monroe Brook. We didn’t find the steepest entrance, but the ride was still great. The lower surface was littered with debris from previous avalanches, and I was glad we were here late in the season, when the snow is already condensed. We passed the Nadya Peek memorial brook, where she fell in on this trip last year and noted her absence with a long discussion on PID controls. Got to the car around 5 exhausted, smelly and happy. Three more hours of driving and I was back home, where I collapsed in bed to sleep like the dead. The sign of a day well spent.
Tourists by Yehuda Amichai
Visits of condolence is all we get from them.
They squat at the Holocaust Memorial,
They put on grave faces at the Wailing Wall
And they laugh behind heavy curtains
In their hotels.
They have their pictures taken
Together with our famous dead
At Rachel's Tomb and Herzl's Tomb
And on Ammunition Hill.
They weep over our sweet boys
And lust after our tough girls
And hang up their underwear
To dry quickly
In cool, blue bathrooms.
Once I sat on the steps by agate at David's Tower, I placed my two heavy baskets at my side. A group of tourists was standing around their guide and I became their target marker. "You see that man with the baskets? Just right of his head there's an arch from the Roman period. Just right of his head." "But he's moving, he's moving!" I said to myself: redemption will come only if their guide tells them, "You see that arch from the Roman period? It's not important: but next to it, left and down a bit, there sits a man who's bought fruit and vegetables for his family."
Today was so lovely, I decided to go down to the Common for an old fashioned tea party. I borrowed the jauntiest hat and jacket I could find (thanks Jeff). I tried to convince other folks from the lab to come, but they all thought it was silly. I thought it was delightfully so. Luckily, some other folks agreed, and we sat in the sun, watching the passersby and nibbling on scones and petit-fours.
There were other people making quite a commotion, and I eventually wandered into the fray. Palin’s speech was full of sound and fury, but ultimately signified nothing. There seemed to be nearly as many counter-protesters and curious onlookers as actual teabaggers. The patriots who were there had the usual assortment of incoherent signs. I was glad to see the Larouchies out in force, with a dope-pushing queen in drag. There were also some plants with really ridiculous signs, which I don’t really think helps the dialogue.
But tea, sunshine and some polite conversation? Thats my kind of party.
Went with Janet to the opening day game. Our seats were at the top of section 14, right in front of the standing room section, where many of the professional photographers hang out. My shots didn’t turn out as well as the guy’s with the two foot lenses, but I had to try.