Monday, April 4, 2011

Nugget Pass Powder

(left)  Allapa at Nugget Pass area, Grand Central in background, Sunday, March 27.  As I came even with Tyler, his celebrated time machine already drawn and aimed, I unconsciously broke out of parallel and into telly snob.

March Powder Storm

The FLUFF is on
There'll be no climbing today.

No perching, pasting and grunting,
Your hooks will stay in the pack,
No stemming and slamming your wallet 
Into slabs that gain no purchase.
They'll be over there sucking down the lines
And I'll be there with them;
the FLUFF is on, and
There'll be no climbing today.

The silken sound of graupels
Swishing aside by the millions
Has got them in a kind of trance;
if my skin stays on
I'll be able to pet the monkey on my back,
He pops on at the bottom of the run,
Gets off at the top and hucks another one,
But they'll be no climbing today
For the FLUFF is on,
It's like skiing on a cloud.

The monkey came back at the bottom of the run, so
We climbed the mountain again;
Crazed with the powder,
The silk and sinuous sliding,
We never crossed each other's tracks,
The waves were all synchronized;
And none of us we
Battled the gravity,
No one offered fealty
For the FLUFF was on,
It was all just winging.

Someday we'll return to struggle,
Offer ourselves to the jaws of the mountain,
Instead of smooth over the sinuous curves;
We'll be clinching and closing with constrictions and praying
For the Lord to spare us one time;
But for now the FLUFF is on,
The stairs are all coated with vapor
Get boards for your feet and take to the machines,
Leave your Cobras for shovel and beacon,
There will be no climbing today.

(right) Skinning up.  Erica and me, our trusty little machines looking like turds left behind in the snow.  These are the hills east of the Kougarak Road.  Tyler was instrumental in helping us achieve TOWN ESCAPE VELOCITY on a hungover morning that broke windy and gray in Nome, on a day when many a local outdoorsman failed to break through the low psyche, but a day that proved to be calm and transcendently beautiful in the mountains, the light unreal bright, with downy feathers all over everything.

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