Mountain Travels

2008-05-06 06:38:04.000 – Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

I’m working nights this week. It has been quite a lot of darkness, hardly able to see the A-frame when I walk outside. We spent a few days in the fog, and that coupled with the fact the moon was rising in the wee hours of the morning and was approaching new moon, made it very dark.

Yesterday morning, just after my shift ended at 4:30 AM EST, we moved in and out of the clouds for sunrise making for some ephemeral moments. Not long after, we broke out of the clouds revealing a partial undercast, brilliant sunlight, and brisk (but invigorating) temperatures at 36 degrees. Sunlight has an interesting effect of giving one energy, and I was now wide awake. Wide awake and off shift…the only option I really had was to go for a hike, because I clearly couldn’t go to bed. So I hiked on down to Ball Crag, hopping from rock to rock, avoiding the alpine vegetation covered in white rime ice. In time, I made may way down to near the Alpine Garden, when I noticed I was getting sleepy. I’d been up since 2:30 the previous afternoon, so that made good sense. I also happened to be in an area with calm winds and a nice flat rock, so I set out my half pad and rested back on my pack as a pillow, catching a half hour or so of sleep in the alpine tundra, the sun nearly causing me to overheat. When I woke, I walked over to some snowfields, figuring they would be faster to descend on, and glissaded on down. As always, this was quite a lot of fun. I wandered on over to Cow Pasture so I could catch a glimpse into the Great Gulf, since I had been looking towards Tucks all morning. Hiking through Cow Pasture, I followed a dilapidated wire fence and old posts. This led me to an interesting rock – an erratic perched atop a commoner. I then walked home, falling asleep by 11:15 in the morning.

Ay, but the story does not end there…I woke up to find Kyle wanting to head to the East Fields for a few runs, and as I had walked by them that morning, knew I couldn’t really pass up the opportunity myself. In another month or so, I would do anything to take a run down those slopes, so I left myself few options than to go. There was not a track on the frozen granular surface until we laid a few long turns down it. Conditions were favorable to booting back up as well, so I made one more run for good measure.

I then hiked over to see Kyle, Stacey, and Michelle who were hanging out atop Ball Crag. We took in the views among good company, then hiked on…to home for some, to work for others. Now I’ve worked another full night and it’s 6:30 on another beautiful day. However, I’m pretty tuckered, so I think I’ll just head to bed and count some sheep. I love ewe.


Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

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