Friday, May 29, 2015

Ice Hunting on Eldorado Creek

34 Sundays Ago (a Kigsblog record for longest BLOG LAG interval)

"GLUE of TOWN": a resultant force that draws the climber away from the climbing objective and back towards town or base.

Eldorado Creek bluffs, October 3, 2014. Not much ice this year but the rime upon the rocks.
If the GLUE were visible, we would view it as a gelatinous substance encasing the climber as he wakes upon his very comfortable mattress. A 7 a.m. wake-up call on a September morning had been declared the night before, all the better for his intention of ice climbing out in the washes of Woolley Lagoon country today, but interference from thick GLUE, mostly residual work tiredness effect and scattered thought process syndrome, is preventing the wake-up call from getting through.
Rainbow Dash stuck in glue.
    The climber eventually makes it as far as the coffee maker and successfully sets the machine to brewing, but thick, elastic TENDRILS of GLUE affixed to his back still attach him to the comfortable mattress back in his bedroom, and the retractable nature of the GLUE TENDRILS draws him right back into bed. The climber has returned to a chrysalis state and lies suspended in a sticky, amniotic goo, supported by a little nest of ungraded papers.
Eldorado Creek headwaters. There is a wolverine watching me in this picture.

          The climber makes it as far as the laundry room. Fall's ice climbing gear lies buried under Summer's rock impedimenta, bootlaces broken last winter are remembered, pieces of axe and crampon are interspersed in a lubricating fluid of socks, and every glove that surfaces in the tubs seems to be a leftie. Great viscous globs of GLUE lie thick in the chaotic laundry room where the climber flops around like a stinkbug treadmilling in a stick pile, with sharp things spilling down on him from narrow walls on all sides, the shelves threatening to come down on him with the weight of the house, the inertia of responsibilities, the pull of sloth and leisure, the very GLUE of TOWN itself quickening as the climber hacks at it with the MACHETE of INTENT.
Eldorado Creek Gorge. I came with high hopes for some water ice suitable for an ice climb, but was disappointed.
    A transparent, slimy gel coats everything, weighing the climber down as he struggles simply to escape his own house with a bare minimum of the necessary accouterments for ice climbing, but each of the climber's actions creates an equal and opposite reaction as various TENDRILS of GLUE retract. For instance, he thought he had reached the "Say Goodbye To Spouse and Child Threshold," the door banged shut behind him, he actually got in the car, but now witness the trajectory of his body as it is drawn violently out of the car and back into the house: the climber forgot to pack his plastic ice climbing boots, and they are nowhere to be found. Another 45 minutes will be necessary as the climber digs through the debris field of gear he already displaced this morning as he dug for other items.
Woman stuck in glue.
Starting to lose it now, the climber is on the very edge of control. He is starting to succumb to rage. Why can he not BREAK GLUE? The list he is using to systematically defeat the GLUE is proliferating new issues faster than he can check them off: for example, the search for the ice boots, only a Zone 2 search, has morphed into a search for the missing plastic cuff to the left boot, a much more involved Zone 3.  Members of the household are warily eyeing their places of refuge from the cussing, mumbling monster in the mud room. The dog looks guilty. The phone rings. "Did you remember to put gas in the truck?" calls his spouse gently. The climber can practically see the mucilaginous curtains of TOWN GLUE clinging to everything in his view. With tears of frustration in his eyes, he wields the MACHETE of INTENT and hacks his way blindly towards the car.
Ice hunting out the Teller Road
     He believes he has made progress. The car engine is started. Let's see, boots, crampons, two tools, helmet, flask... anything else is superfluous and not strictly needed. Pulling out of the driveway now... Several of the thickest tendrils of GLUE begin to elongate with the car's movement, narrowing the diameter of the elastic filaments to a breaking point. 

       But what is this? His child racing out the door at the last minute: "Could you please give me and my friends a ride to the Mini-Convention Center for a pancake feed?" She is so precious. WHANG! goes the GLUE. Tendrils of GLUE retract his movement backwards like a cartoon character stepping in reverse. 
Fall morning on the Teller Road, crisp, timeless
       Finally, he is out on the Teller Road, him and his dog and his truck. He is afoot with his vision, a successful hunter of ice with his eye on the horizon. GLUE TENDRILS have been snapping and popping behind him as his troubles and cares begin to fade into insignificance. But not all the tendrils. Several are still firmly attached to his back, the sub-tendrils twining into the very fibers of his central nervous system: work tiredness effect,  residual tension from fight with spouse phenomenon, fear of being alone in the Kigs syndrome, dull ice tool psyche dampening effect... Never underestimate the RETRACTIBILITY of the GLUE of TOWN. One glance at the dashboard reminds him that he has forgotten to get gas. The GLUE of TOWN once again reverses his motion 180 degrees, the tendril reaches its tether like a bungee and begins to suck him back into town.
Mary Ann steps in glue during her dance number on Gilligan's Island  

   Hours later, the climber reaches the Woolley Lagoon turnoff on the Teller Road. The Grand Singtook (Pk. 3870) rises directly to the north of the road and disappears into clouds. This is Bering Straits and King Island country, so the climber considers carefully where to park; even something as intangible as land stewardships adds minutely to GLUE index. He drives another mile west to the spot where he will park the truck and begin hiking over the west shoulder of the Singtook to access upper Eldorado Creek, a place he has had luck in finding early-season ice. Something about the way the water pools up on the tundra dips here seems to promote the build-up of ice in September and October. 
     Now he has only the GLUE of CAR to contend with, a force which is hardly less significant than GLUE of TOWN. Nevertheless, it is so pleasant to sit in the little bubble of his truck cab, sipping coffee and listening to the Velvet Underground as a stiff breeze comes in off the Bering Sea and gently buffets the truck. He spasms his boots on, dons his pack, and exits the vehicle, holding tightly to the car door in the wind. The climber begins hiking, but the GLUE of the TRUCK sucks him back into the cab immediately— he has forgotten his phone, which has the camera.
Lucy ready to lead the way to Eldorado
      After a half mile of hiking up the mountain, the tundra world takes him in. He if finally reaching ESCAPE VELOCITY. His eyes fill with the flowing patterns of pre-contact Beringia, his ears fill with wind. Could we hook him up to an EKG at this moment, we would see his brain patterns shifting. Could we read his mind, we would experience time perception changing. He is become more like willows now. Thoughts, responsibilities, pleasures, comforts, ego, ambitions, deadlines, nagging details, all these constituents of the GLUE, which, it must be noted, are entirely of his own creation, are swirling round the drain, about to be flushed.

       And then it comes: the SNAP!  The SNAP! is the moment when the primary GLUE TENDRILS elongate to their breaking point and break off. Aaah!...

      The climber crouches on the tundra, naked, still coated with dabs of the gel, but freed of attachments to town. It is time to enter the folds of the hillside, and be forgotten... 
Map showing various past adventures on and around the Singtook.
A. Little Singtook (Pk. 3653)
B. Grand Singtook (Pk. 3870)
C. Eldorado Creek Bluffs
The blue line shows where I went ice hunting on this post.

Windbow over Singtook