The Youthful Picture

70019150-SLD-001-0028 The picture you see on my home page is a youthful version of yours truly a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Tuckerman Ravine,New Hampshire is the venue and home to some of the most vicious weather in all of the earth. The winds that have ravaged the summit of Mount Washington which is directly above the Ravine have been clocked at 268 MPH which are the highest wind speeds ever recorded. Tuckerman Ravine is also home to the annual rite of passage for many New Englanders in the spring who are seeking a rugged adventure coupled with the thrill of skiing 50 degree plus couloirs that ribbon the face of the Ravine.
For seven years in a row, my good friend Eric Durfee( now residing in Incline Village,Nevada) and I packed up our external frame packs with food, beverages, sleeping bags and pads and our skis with boots secured in the bindings and trudged up the AMC Trail to the Hermit Lake Shelter Area. Here you can rest for the night in a “lean to” shelter which can be secured by contacting the Appalachian Mounhtain Club in Pinkham Notch,New Hampshire. It was always an interesting night hike with Eric because it involved an all day drive for me from Pennsylvania coupled with the 3 hour trek from Vermont ( home to the Durfees at the time) and a 2 hour hike up to the shelter dependent on trail conditions. One interesting night, I had the good fortune of downing 2 Big Macs and a large Coke in record time because my starvation level had reached its peak during the passage through North Conway,New Hampshire. You would think that a quaint little town like North Conway in the valley below the Presidential Range would be void of fast food but as we all know, the Arches extend them selves world wide in the most remote of places. Needless to say, I welcomed the sight and inhaled the tasty two all beef patties, pickles, lettuce, special sauce, on a sesame seed bun in record time and began my trek to Hermit Lake.
About half way up that night, I got a rumbly in my tumbly as Winnie would say and the 80 pound pack was ejected to the side of the trail as I rocketed to the nearest remote place and rid myself of the most vile biomaterial I have ever witnessed. This unfortunate cycle continued for 4 more rounds until I reached the shelter dehydrated and pale as the icing on a wedding cake and a long way from home. Eric claims that the echos in the woods that night seemed as if a wounded wolf was stuck in a trap as the pain of that gastrointestnal adventure reverberated in the serene pine trees of the Presidentials.
After a restful evening in the shelter, save for the romantic interludes of a Canadian couple at the other end of the shelter, we woke to clear skies and happy climbing to ski some of the most storied runs in all of skiing. To the left of the Headwall is The Left Gulley and Dodges Drop. As you summit these ribbons of joy, the slope begins to get real vertical and you can actually reach in front of you and touch what you will ski. The technique is always to kick steps on your way up with your skis over your shoulder and your ski boots on. Once you reach the top, you basically shove the tails of your skis into the vertical slope, gingerly slip into your bindings and drop into your first turns. A person in decent shape can make about 6-8 runs per day. The weather is always changing and you can be in a T shirt and wind pants one minute with the sun warming your face and facing a raging snow storm with 90 MPH winds in the blink of a frostbitten eye. But these are the adventures that you long for when you go to the Ravine and although my friend Eric says that there are hundreds of Tuckerman Ravines throughout Nevada and California, there is only one Tuckerman with its famous stories and infamous personal stories shared by skiers all over the world.
So as you look at this young fellow on the home page, you will see the adventure, the joy, the excitement of a 27 year old guy with the world of adventure ahead of him and behind him to some extent. As I continue to blog away here for you, I hope to present some fun, some romantic and exhilarating times and the notion that if we all continue to do the things that we always liked to do, we can enjoy life well into our 80s and maybe 90s. BS you say?? I think not. As Dylan Thomas would say…………” Do not go gently into that good night……….RAGE RAGE against the dying of the light.” God Bless.

3 thoughts on “The Youthful Picture

  1. Pete Hilton says:

    This is awesome Pat – love reading about you pooping all over tuckerman’s ravine. Think your next edition should be how how you kicked Eric’s butt in Lake Tahoe century ride till he conveniently skipped last rest stop!! Great stuff my friend!!

  2. Cuz-I-L says:

    Merciful Heaven Paddy Mac!!!…Embarrassed to begin by needing the def from google for “couloirs”, after which I was quite swept into your adventure of Tukerman, but I gotta say: It, you, Durfee and Thomas ALL left me exhausted!! Good show ole man on yer first BIG Blog, can’t wait to set out on your next entry..(I’ll bring the pepto!) Slainte Cuz-I-L

  3. Janet says:

    Oh my word so graphic…. …. but funny!😄
    I’m Very glad Tuckerman Ravine days were pre
    10-8-88!!
    Love you
    Janet Lee 😘

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