Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Walter Mitty Loop

The campus ski route includes a loop over an open hillside. The hill is about 200 meters wide and faces to the northwest. You take a diagonal line from the northeast corner of the slope, down across the hill, then trudge up two switchbacks on the south side to get back up to the top. Then it’s another diagonal back about 1/2 way down to retrace your tracks back up to the northeast corner of the hill. The downhill traverses are because the hill is a bit too steep to schuss on XC skis, especially since there’s a fence at the bottom of the hill. It’s a mowed hillside that faces the prevailing northwesterly winds, so a small breeze can mobilize any loose snow and fills in any previous tracks (it’s an ungroomed trail). When the snow is falling and the breeze is fresh, it’s easy to imagine that you’re out alone in the wilds, trekking across uncharted wilderness. It is if you have an active imagination, anyway, and especially if the story of the woman who solo skied across Antarctica was just on the radio that morning.

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