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Thursday, February 28, 2008

TCC for 2/28/08

The Caretaker's Concern 2/28/08
Ghetto temp. 42 F. and rising.
Island tmp. 14 F. (as of 7 p.m.) Yesterday's L/H: 11.5/No high, it just got colder.
Current conditions: Clear star filled sky, wind from the Narrows 5 to 10 mph.

The Caretaker awoke this morning to a Ghetto at 60 degrees F. which was quite a surprise to him given the cold temperature the night before. Luckily for the Caretaker there was little to no wind so there was little to no heat loss. Given that the Ghetto is like a sieve, well, there's no simile about it, if you turned the Ghetto upside down and dumped a bucket of pasta in it all you'd have is the pasta, the water would strain out. In the Summer months the draftiness of the Ghetto is great, and since the Ghetto was originally built to be occupied only in the Summer months the Caretaker has nothing to complain about, and so he doesn't.

The plan for today was to go hike up Shelving Rock, however the Caretaker got a later start than he originally planned. Before embarking on the Shelving Rock field-trip the Caretaker skied out to Dome to get started on a project involving that Island. Due to the need for Sunlight he was only able to complete half of the project, the rest would have to wait for the afternoon. The Caretaker returned to the Island to pack up his gear for the trip up Shelving. While out on skis in the morning he took note of the poor snow conditions for x-c skis, the snow was a super fine powder providing little to no float for his x-c skis. Much of the time his skis were completely below the ice moving across the slush layer which provides little to no glide. The powder would have been great on a ski hill, but the Lake is decidedly flat, so the Caretaker decided that snowshoes would be the better option for Shelving Rock. After packing up his gear and sled the Caretaker hit the ice and headed across to the East shore. Having to cut his own trail the entire way across, it was rather slow going, the float on the snow for his snowshoes was certainly an improvement over his skis, but nothing too spectacular. The wind was at his back most of the way over, so that at least was in his favor. By the time the Caretaker made it to the East shore he was already a bit tuckered out, truth be told, the snow conditions are not solely to blame for the slow going, the Caretaker is woefully out of shape.

After taking a break of water and some trail-mix the Caretaker headed up to Shelving Falls, given his late start he decided it would be a good idea to time himself getting up to the falls. Once at the falls and after doing the math, the Caretaker realized that if he was going to make it to the top of Shelving Rock he would have to continue nonstop and by the time he got there he would have to immediately turn around and come back in order to make it back to the Island before nightfall. Not that the Caretaker has a problem with traveling the ice at night, but to go to the top only to have to immediately come down, with no time to relax at the top and enjoy the view seemed rather pointless so the Caretaker instead decided to hang around a bit at the Falls and see what photos could be taken. After boiling water for a cup of tea (Spicy Ginger Mate), which he then consumed and enjoyed thoroughly, he started tromping around the Shelving Falls area. The Caretaker took a few photos but nothing of real value.

The return trip was a little bit easier going because the Caretaker could follow his tracks back, however with the wind blowing the snow all day, much of his tracks were filled in with snow by the time he started back to the Island. The wind had shifted and so again it was at his back, mostly, and so he did have that in his favor. It never hurts to have the wind at your back both coming and going.

At times the wind was blowing pretty good taking a lot of snow with it. Many times the Caretaker would stop and watch the drifting snow race across the surface. In some ways it was rather hypnotizing, this river of snow crystals, a river as broad as the Lake. The snow following the currents of the wind, wispping left at times, right at times, creating long continuous "S's". Watching at his feet as one racing snow crystal is stopped by another at rest, sending the one at rest on its way, the one now at rest not long to be so as another from behind collides with it, a process repeating over and over all across the Lake. Small piles of snow building at windward and diminishing at the lee, the wind building up and breaking down these snow piles all across the Lake, all at the same time. A continually moving and changing work of snow sculpture, carved by the wind. As the Caretaker neared the Island, the Sun was just beginning to set, casting a golden glow over this wind blown river of snow.

By the time the Caretaker returned to the Island the Sun had fallen behind the hills of the West shore. The Caretaker entered the Ghetto at a temperature of 25 degrees F. By the time he finally turned in for the night, he was only able to get the Ghetto up to about 45 degrees, too bad he had no pasta.

--The Caretaker

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