Typical Vermont Weather

March 24, 2011
By ColinVT BRONZE, Dummerston, Vermont
ColinVT BRONZE, Dummerston, Vermont
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

As we approached the end of our ride to the peak, the colossal machine tirelessly propelled the steel cable, wrapping it around a large gear ahead of us and snapping the preceding chairs back around and down the mountain. With the loudest part of machine overtaking most other sounds, we at last were pushed out onto our feet by the chairlift as it made its way around the giant wheel above our heads. I saw clearly Murdock’s Bowl, towering above all other nearby peaks not far off in the distance. I noticed a singular line of ants making its way up the far left ridge of the main peak, and when observed more closely, the ants become dedicated skiers and snowboarders slowly ascending the vast challenge set in front of them. Large gray depressions speckled the mountain where the ammunition has exploded in attempt to spark an avalanche – but other than this, the terrain glistened beautifully, a sheet of untouched snow. I think to myself, should I do this? Am I really going to hike 600 vertical feet into a dangerous avalanche prone area? Is this relentlessly tiring hike going to be worth it? As I coasted down towards the trailhead I found myself drifting closer and closer to it, almost magnetically until I was standing right there.
Magically I found myself reaching down, unbuckling my tight ski boots, and clicking my heels out of my skis. The beautiful virgin snow of the steep bowl called to me, “You have to hike me; there is no choice. You are not going to get this opportunity but a handful of times in your life. Take advantage of it, now!” I sensed my legs propelling me, and within a few dozen steps, the enormous down puffy jacket encompassing my body dampened with my perspiration. I struggled each step of the way; kicking in a foothold all the way up was completely necessary least my every step yields no more than a zero height elevation gain outcome. My cumbersome skis over my shoulder make the journey ever so difficult, slipping apart, and drifting from the outward sloping trapezius muscle and onto my upper arm. But I repeatedly flicked the skis back to where they can rest and I continued up. Whilst enduring the struggling of the skis, and kicking of footholds, I found my overall speed starting to increase, regardless of my body – especially my legs lactic acid buildup which nagged noticeably at me. I often found myself looking back towards the bottom when I started to feel tired, hoping to find motivation in the accomplishment of where I had already made it. Despite my search for reassurance, I found that I had gone very little noticeable distance, if any from when I last looked. After some time, I looked down and estimated that I was about one fifth of the way to the summit. The task seemed insurmountable; a tangible end to the journey was not something in which I can grasp in my imagination at that point.
As I passed the conquered victims of the steep ascent, I overheard their conversation, “Well it’s the last 100 meters that always gets me. Its just insane – I mean its straight up!” His quick tale was a motivational challenge to me, but as I craned my head upwards, through my fogging goggles my eyes widened in an exasperated disbelief with the view of the summit appearing ever more challenging. Every step aches more and more, but I could see the progress little by little. Now two fifths of the way up, then three, and then four. At last I have approached the “last 100 meters.” I stop, move to the side of the trail for a quick moment to catch my breath as other adventurers pass me by. That same dampened sun behind the overcast skies seemed ever so potent, broiling my body beneath thick clothing.
Very quickly, I returned to my toils and continued, knowing entirely well that every passing person was just less untracked powder to shred. I was almost there; I could actually feel the end in sight. My tireless trudging turns into a lumbering insensible gate. I felt like a stranded sailor finding shore and clumsily running through the waves onto land in a blind hysteria, delirious for a chance to rest his muscles, and maybe even have a large swig of fresh water. But I was careful. A steep cornice lurked menacingly above the climbers – the last obstacle of the ascent. During the course of the last twenty steps handholds as well became necessary, and the need for strategic footholds became eminent. About five steps from the top, I heard that rapid violin tune as I tilt slightly backwards, surely towards a long painful crashing fall back to flat land. My hand grasped out to the cliff, but my swing missed, my breath left my body, and I tilted at the mercy of gravity. The many behind me will be crushed beneath me and themselves topple backwards in a violent, painful clamor of skis and people. But I was able to steady myself out and slowly, carefully make the last steps. Like that sailor, I imagined the comforting welcoming area I am about to be brought into.
But once reaching the top of the peak, my heart dropped. It was like the dawning feeling that he must have gotten when he realized that the tropical desert island contains no food, no fresh water, and that the temperatures soar so highly that heat stroke was almost inevitable. I believed I was there, but I saw the lines of people far off ahead of me – more ants. Steaming with immense exhaustion, I quickly stripped myself of my outermost layer of clothing, and let myself fall forwards away from the animal path that we called a trail. The snow burned with a beautiful refreshing tingling along my exposed skin, and cooled my warm layers underneath.

The author's comments:
I went skiing at the Canyons Resort in Park City Utah. On my 3rd out there from Vermont, I hiked the tallest peak on the Mountain in my ski boots so that I could ski down in the best snow with only a handful of individuals that tried it.

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This article has 1 comment.

. said...
on Feb. 1 2012 at 9:21 pm
Hey, your from Dumerston? I just moved to Maine from Newfane! Nice job. Very discriptive.


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