Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NHVSP 2011 Update 4

Dear readers,
Peter Marques from Tentsmiths
  We returned from Conway last night and now I sit here and write the last update before we leave for the trail. The grand, juicy piece of the last week is, of course, our trip to Conway, where we sewed our tent with Peter and Phyllis of Tentsmiths Company, the top company for replicating authentic tents. Almost as impressive as the tentmakers themselves were the sewing machines, which could stitch up to 5000 stitches per second, and were computerized to back tack for you and cut the thread. Back tacking is the reinforcement added at the beginning and end of a stitch so it will not wear off easily. 
Our new semester tent

We arrived in Conway on Monday and jogged through the town while eating apples to the sewing company. We then heard a fascinating one-and-a-half our lecture about tents, seams and fabrics. We went to our hostel room and each had a shower and went to bed.
   The next day we divided into two groups. One group worked with Peter and Phyllis, cutting out tent patterns and starting to stitch together the roof and walls. Working with master sewers and sewing machines was very enjoyable, and personally I couldn’t take my eyes off the machine for the whole day except for a quick lunch break. The other group went on a remarkable expedition with Misha. They climbed up Mt. Washington and had an amazing adventure. I wasn’t there, so Tobias will tell you about the adventure:
“Our day started early. We were woken up by Misha’s urgent/excited voice long before sunrise. Everything had been loaded up the night before so immediately after a cheesy breakfast (cheesy as in there was lots of cheese) Tim, Julian, Mathilde, Rosa, Jon, Misha and myself (I’m Tobias) plopped our sleepy selves into the red Kroka van. It was a cloudy day and we couldn’t see any of the massive mountains that we knew existed all around us. In fact, our first glimpse of Mt Washington was a third of the way up the road to the Pinkham Notch headquarters where we picked up a trail and started skiing up the biggest mountain in the northeast! Most of us found out soon enough that it’s easier to hike up Mt Washington than to ski up it. One by one we put our skis on our packs and trekked. Misha skied up a good third of that mountain before he had a good slip backwards and exclaimed, “no more skiing.”
Hour after hour we watched the tall trees turn into small trees and small trees turn to shrubs and rocks until we finally emerged above tree line at the bottom of Tuckerman’s Ravine, a popular springtime skiing venue. We lost the trail in the deep snow, but we didn’t need a trail, silly! We only had to go upwards.
After a long climb the trail flattened out, but the wind at the top was bad. Or at least at that point we thought it was bad wind, we later found out it was just a light tickle from the mammoth force of nature. We continued toward the summit, but visibility was bad and the wind was picking up. We could see about 20 feet ahead and were relying on the rock formations that lined our trail. Finally we saw a building, found the road and took shelter from the wind in the entryway of the weather station at the top. As we were eating sticks of butter, dancing for warmth and trying to figure out how to get to the road that would lead us down, the door to the weather station swung open. “Oh!” yelled the surprised weatherman. “Is everyone ok?” we assured him we were fine. After one last warm-up dance we started down.
We put our skis on and soon hit miles of beautifully groomed downhill trails. We made it back to the van around 4:30. We have no pictures, only memories. The world will never understand this life changing event but we have it for ourselves.”
-      Tobias Yandow

The next day, the groups switched.  The climbers helped Peter and Phyllis sew our tent together while my group of seven took a lift to the top of Mt Wildcat and skied down the 13 miles of the Wildcat Valley trail. Conditions were amazing and the steep backcountry trail challenged all of us. We flew down the mountain, falling many times, but always getting up with a cheer.  At some point we hit groomed trails, the most ideal skiing situation available. However, we had to branch off our route, back into ungroomed backcountry trails, we skied through the backcountry for several hours until reaching the van.

Rosa planning biscuit amounts with Nate
Chloe packing peanut butter
We are now deep in direct preparation for the expedition, packing food, gear and clothes for the trail. We are eagerly awaiting parents weekend, and the final sendoff!
   -Nimrod Sadeh

­­­­                                            The Poets Yurt

A dip into the icy cold water after the sauna
Sequoia sempervirens
Rooted deep in the serpentine soil
For thousands of years you stand,
Sword ferns bowing at your feet.
Satiated by the cool, moist air,
Under your outstretched arms.
On an otherwise scorching July day.
How is it that you have such great posture,
When you stand three hundred and fifty feet tall?
   -Jake Olsan

Self knowledge is a tricky thing
It is a constant see-saw
Of teetering, trying to find
The point of balance.
We fan and pick ourselves up
Again, wiping the dirt away
always stronger  because of it.
I watch as the days go by
And my work deepens
My mind changes
   -Serene Summerfield

Zane and Sam 
Rosa and Serene
A cardboard box of chickens.
I carried the unsuspecting hens to
A traffic cone cut short
A well sharpened knife
A careful willing hand
Snow stained red
Gutting washing plucking
A bowl of chicken soup.
   -Tim Morse

Quote of the Trail: “Some people cause happiness wherever they go” Oscar Wilde.

Today is February 1st, our expedition has begun. The next update will arrive from our first layover at Farm and Wilderness on February 18.
Approaching Lake Warren

Finally our backpacks are packed and we are on the way
NHVSP 2011 departing from Marlow, NH -  300 miles of skiing ahead of us!!!!

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