Tuesday, April 17, 2001

My Big Ass SnowShoes and Baldy Beach

When I awoke this Easter morn, I knew things were different. I came downstairs and found that my chocolate Jesus had his ears nibbled off. But I come not to dwell on the travails of the Prophet, but rather to expound brightly on an overly long short run I took on Saturday; destination--Baldy Beach.

I departed Baldy Village as a man burdened only with the dynamic sense of the impossible. The snow was in vagrant patches, and remained so past the Alberto Salazar Rustic Showers. Climbing upwards into the clear blue sky, I was surrounded by warm and friendly chaparral. Eventually the trail disappeared beneath snow pack. My moment had arrived. I donned my spiffy 2-toned Redfeather S-25 snow shoes. I continued to climb, the pack was hard.

Following the tracks of an unnamed local, I wound my way higher and higher. For some reason the air got thinner. I was sucking down Gatorade like there was no tomorrow. Had I been the Nazarene...don't get me started. Satan however is on call 24/7 with his primary franchisee Mr Murphy. I found myself summitting W Baldy, with Baldy yet to go. Damn!

Wheezing over Baldy Beach I was in fine sweat. Down to my lime-green shirt sleeves, my smiley-faced Eyore slippers held tight in the snowshoe bindings. I was met by perfectly-outfitted Sierra Club Dorks in full Denali pile jackets. They adjusted their hoods in the face of 15mph breezes, with the temperature hovering at 50F. I could hear the snickers of Yetis as they donned their Velcro gloves. After all, "no glove, no love" is a universal concept.

Descending off the top presented new opportunities to take a seated glissade straight into the depths of Enchanting Lytle Creek nearly 5,000 feet below. It was thrill I would have to procrastinate on many times in the next 3 miles. This is a side trip I'll take maybe later, with Balto as my co-pilot.

Navigating the slush-crest of the backbone made me reconsider my choice to remove the Shoes during that pesky 1/8 mile gravel stretch. After I exhausted every opportunity to slip to my death, I reattached them on solid ground masquerading as frozen mashed potatoes and became ShuffleMan down to the Notch. It was downhill from there on in.

Here I made an Executive Decision not made in Sharper Image Catalogs. I could proceed up over the 3-Ts trail and finish much later than I cared to. Or I could cut my losses, declare victory and have a parade if I ducked down the service road. Expediency won out, and I cut off a couple of hackysacker snow-boarders on my way out. Passing by the equipment shed, I surprised 2 guys and a gal who were...barbequeing. They invited me in, but I had clouds in my coffee.

Running under the ski-lifts I was cheered on by Berdoo Morons yelling "Run!" I countered with "Jump!" I got no takers. I finished out by runnning the last 4 miles downhill with shoes lashed to pack. Downhill asphalt is good.

But first, the numbers: Village to summit: 4.5 hrs. To Notch: 5:50. Back to Ice House Cyn where the Squirrel was parked: 7:15. A splendid number for 17+ miles! These are splits to cherish!

Until later, my post-winter chickadees...

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