I think I froze a few brain cells this weekend, so bear with me:
'Twas the morning of winter, and at the Moose Lodge,
The Adventurers gathered, really quite the hodgepodge.
Some old guy in levis, a woman built like a tree,
A Bandit , A Speedster , and one in Patagucci ...
Before dawn burned the clouds resting high on the ridge,
They piled into the duallie, a rather tight fit.
Cruisin' north through the desert, with a stop at a sign ,
Of a brothel "long closed" someone said with a whine...
Wind ripped the clouds clear of the peaks overhead ,
And the woman thought, "I don't have too much to dread,
Except ten frozen fingers, and ten frozen toes.
I really do hope that I brought enough clothes!"
Fast through the sunrise the duallie was flyin',
Almost completely bypassing the miniscule sign
That marked the turn off the highway on onto the dirt,
The crazy old guy was drivin', "Hang onto your shirt!"
Up into the canyon did the road slowly wind,
Past sagebrush and juniper; the full moon did shine
As it set behind rolling red hills made of clay,
The sun peaking to the south at the start of the day.
The duallie skidded to a stop at last at the trail ,
None of the explorers were wanting to fail.
But who brought the map? "Don't look at me's" all around,
Anyone with GPS? Again, not a sound.
Gear and jackets were packed, the group at last RTG ,
An 8:30 start? That's not worthy of Piotrowski...
The wind began to pick up as we picked our way west.
In the willow-filled canyon , the trail spotty at best.
Trees below the saddle kept the worst winds at bay,
And the woman cried, "Hooray, I made back to 10K !!"
The speedster gulped down his sandwich, the bandit just paced,
The old guy said, "We've got little time to waste."
Clouds plummeted from the north, the ridge was gone in the white,
The hoar frost descended, covering everything in sight.
The face was fairly sheltered, we picked our way up the scree.
Finally above and high, out of sight of the trees.
"Head up towards the ridge." was the direction of choice.
But the wind and the spin took all of our voices.
The bandit dashed out ahead, his red jacket did fade,
Into the clouds and the snow that had blown in that day.
'Gucci whipped out his Kestrel to measure the wind,
"Ambient air is less than 3!" The woman's patience wore thin,
As her fingertips froze despite the fresh heating packs.
Old guy finally suggested, "Maybe we should turn back."
"The storm is now closing in tight on our heads,
and our tracks and any marks will have been torn to shreads."
'Gucci peered from above on a rocky outcropping,
Wondering if the strong group intended on stopping.
The Speedster made the call, twirling fingers in a circle,
The Bandit said, "I don't want to be an icicle."
'Gucci countered with: "We're at 12.6K, the summit's right there!"
But all of the rest of us quite simply glared.
"Who's fast at descending" asked Bandit over the snow.
The woman took off like a shot, giving the ridge a go,
Until it forked right in two, and she said, "I don't know!
Which ridge will bring us down out of the snow?"
We crept down the ridge, through loose boulders and scree,
Not knowing which path would take us back to the trees
Rocks flew as we picked our way down from the heights.
Each one of us straining to see anything but white.
When far below the clouds opened, we had dropped from the storm.
And we looked to the northwest , the sun shining and warm.
The saddle to our east, wind and spin whipping through.
A very glad sight for this cold motley crew.
While the wind still careened down the slopes to our backs,
Carrying snow sharp as needles and destroying our tracks.
We trudged ever downward along the ravine,
Cursing hidden ice patches under the snows mottled sheen.
At last at the duallie, the explorers piled in,
Huddled close all around, hiding from the wind.
Shivering until the heater warmed the frigid evening air,
They drove out of the canyon, a great story to share.
With the moon climbing high above the storm and the peaks,
They arrived safe and sound at the Moose Lodge for treats.
Beef stew on the menu, fresh hot cider and wine,
Soon had the adventurers feeling just fine.
And so ends the tale of the Brave Mighty Five,
Who were lucky to come off the ridge all alive.
Not having been frozen by winter's first blast.
And knowing it would definitely not be their last.
Sunday brought the triumphant return of Paula Bunyan to the Eastern Sierra, as I drove out to Lida Summit to my Christmas Tree Farm (ie: buy your permit at the FS station!). Within about 20 minutes I had cornered my prey , fashioned a harness from the static line Doug had given me, and dragged the specimen the half mile back to the TOF . Upon seeing the snow this morning, boy was I glad to have that taken care of!
Not many pics this weekend, but here are a few highlights:
Rest of the pics from Boundary and the Christmas Tree Hunt .
From the luckiest girl in the world: Climb Hard, Be Safe.
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