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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Caretaker's Concern for 5/13/2010

TCC for 5/13/10

"New" 2007 post follows below.

The Caretaker is officially on hiatus from his blog until at least the end of this week but most likely through the end of next week. However, he will still have the e-mails from 2007 posted every night at 9 p.m. EST, they will be going out via the automated system. If the Caretaker happens to take some photos and has the time to post them he will do so. For those readers who have relied on the Caretaker's notifications of new posts via Facebook, while he is on hiatus from his blog he will not be sending out notifications via Facebook for the automated posts from 2007. If you'd like, you can sign up for e-mail notifications by entering your e-mail address at left, it is titled: "To receive E-mail notification of new posts:" It is just below the Caretaker's brief profile.

Before there was the blog the Caretaker sent out posts via e-mail, the following is from the Caretaker's second winter on the Island:
Island Ice Report for 3/01/07:

Outside temp: 15 F
Ghetto temp: 58 F
Wind: East 5-10 mph
Sky: dense cloud cover
Precipitation: None yet, but snow is soon to arrive.

The Caretaker went up to Sleeping Beauty today.

The Caretaker went to bed the night before planing to wake up the next day and go on a field trip up Buck Mountain. He woke up in the morning, having had a long day of it yesterday with his trip up Black Mountain the Caretaker decided he would sleep in a bit, so he awoke at around 6:30 am and was out of bed not too long after. He was finding it hard to find the motivation to hit the trail so he took his time. Eventually he got around to breakfast and toyed with the idea of not going up Buck mt. but he checked the weather report again and decided that since snow, sleet, and rain were due in by nightfall and all the next day he figured he should take advantage of the clear weather because it might be some time before he would be able to go on another field trip. So the Caretaker got his gear together, and at around 9:00 am set out across the ice to the East shore. The Caretaker's plan was to go up the back side of Buck and then come down the other side, this didn't happen. He made his way up the trail towards Dacy clearing and through the trees he got a glimpse of Sleeping Beauty, this is when the idea to not do Buck crept into his head. It occurred to the Caretaker that he had never been up Sleeping Beauty and perhaps he would rather do that instead, he decided he would make the decision when he came to the fork in the trail for the trail head to Buck. The trail the Caretaker had been on so far was well packed by snowmobiles, at the fork the trail towards Buck was untouched snow. It was around 11:00 am when the Caretaker had to make his decision. He did the math and decided that it would make more sense to go up Sleeping Beauty and leave Buck for another day. To cross-country ski and/or snowshoe on trails of untouched snow takes much longer than trails of packed snow and given the distance of the Buck mt. trek to attempt it would most certainly mean he would be returning to the Island late into the evening and given the coming weather the Caretaker decided that leaving Buck for another day would be the sensible thing to do.
The Caretaker continued on to Dacy clearing where he stopped a bit to sit, eat and look at Sleeping Beauty. He took a few photos and then continued on his way. There are two trails that go up Sleeping Beauty making a loop, the Caretaker took the trail on the East side, this would turn out to be a great idea. It is the first trail you come to that breaks from the snowmobile trail, it is only wide enough for hikers, some people on snowshoes had already been down the trail which made it easier traveling for the Caretaker. Shortly after the Caretaker started on the trail up the mountain he realized he needed to rebalance his fluids, so he skied off the trail a bit to make the adjustment, when he turned to go back to the trail he noticed that where he was provided a very good view of Sleeping Beauty, but if he wanted an even better one he could go closer where the trees opened up a bit and so he did. One of the great things about winter time is that without the foliage on the trees you can see much more, and swamps and marshes are frozen so you can travel over them. The Caretaker realized that the opening in the forest that he was in was a frozen marsh and that come the warmer months it would be much more difficult to view Sleeping Beauty from this vantage point. It's a point right below the cliff face, the Caretaker has only ever viewed this cliff from the Island and from atop Shelving Rock, now that he was so very close he was rather overwhelmed by the majesty of Sleeping Beauty. He was somewhat awestruck, he was finding it difficult to turn from the cliff face, he tried to capture this in a photograph but was not too successful. Eventually the Caretaker decided he would need to press on if he wanted to make it to the top of Sleeping Beauty, however he would have stayed longer if he had the time. Shortly after returning to the trail the Caretaker had to switch from his skis to his snowshoes. The rest of the way up Sleeping Beauty was rather easy going in comparison to the last mile of Black Mt. Eventually the Caretaker made it to the top of Sleeping Beauty, however, the clouds had begun to roll in so the sun was rather dimmed but the view was still quite good. In fact, the Caretaker would say that overall it is probably one of the best overall views in the surrounding area. The top of Sleeping Beauty itself is also quite lovely in and of itself regardless of the view. There was very little wind and it wasn't all that cold, the Caretaker greatly enjoyed his time up top and would have liked to have stayed longer, but knew he had to soon be on his way if he wanted to get back to the Island before the snow came. So the Caretaker made his way down the mountain down the West trail continuing the loop. When he got down from the top the trail picked up the snowmobile trail again, so he put his skis back on and headed home. Eventually the trail began to drop elevation, unfortunately it quickly became a severe drop in elevation, add to this that the trail was so hard packed by snowmobiles it was more ice pack than powder and since the Caretaker's skis don't have a metal edge he doesn't have much in the way of stopping or steering on such conditions in a controlled manner, all of this combines to make for a rather unsafe situation. Given the speed he was currently going, and the coming turn in the trail that would only be one of many of the coming switchbacks the Caretaker knew that if he didn't stop soon he would only gain speed which would eventually lead to him skiing off the trail which if he was lucky he would hit a tree, if he was unlucky he would go over the side. Since neither of these options were acceptable the Caretaker did the only thing he could which was a controlled drop, which is to crouch down and turn your skis out from under you coming down on your hip. The Caretaker managed this rather well, he has had practice in this "highly technical" (but rather undignified) maneuver. From here the Caretaker loaded himself and his gear into the sled and continued on down the trail. Although this was speedy it was little fun, the hard pack trail is hard on the feet and hands which are the only means to control the sled. After the Caretaker returned to Dacy Clearing he put his skis back on and skied the rest of the way back to the Lake, the trail here was pretty much straight so he needn't worry about making any sharp turns on switchbacks. The Caretaker returned to the Island at 6:10 p.m.

--The Caretaker

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