Boys Weekend Boys Weekend Logo Winter 2004

March 5-7, 2004


By Bob Gifford and Joe Ketcham

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Well this adventure started on Friday morning, when  Joe , DP, Bob, and the surprise Stan, met at the Taj.....slang for Richmond's Park and Ride. We piled into DP's Suburban and headed out, stopping along the way in Jonesville for a quick flea market break. DP bought some junk and Stan found some 1” marbles (cannon fodder). We stopped in Stowe for some coffee and soon after pulled into the empty parking lot at the end of Beaver Meadow road. It was pretty rotten out with very warm temps ( for this time of year), and a light rain. We got our gear ready and set out up the trail. We all were pulling sleds loaded with gear and carried backpacks too. Stan was on snowshoes and the rest of us where on skis. DP was using his yard sale specials with hiking boots. These are just plain old wood skis. There is no wax or plastic on these things. I was amazed that they worked at all. Joe and I had more current tele set ups with climbing skins.

We made the meadow in good time (a little over an hour) and found the cabin just as the rain began to really come down. We settled in to the traditional cabin (Beaver Meadow Proper), cut some wood, fired the cannon a couple times, as a warning.. A little later the rain stopped so we went over to check out Burling Cabin. We found this place to be pretty nice. So nice we lit a fire and discussed the idea of moving camp, Joe was against the idea at first, but came around and was glad for it.  And so the boys proceeded to move operations to the Burling cabin. This cabin had no roof leaks, more windows and a much better layout for hanging out. There is a huge table with benches and a kitchen area with shelves. Beaver Meadow Lodge is charming, in its own way, but is pretty dark and has really no good place to gather.. We've been going there since the early 70's, so, it was a drastic move. It took us about an hour to move to the new digs.

Friday night Joe grilled up some chicken legs and hamburgers, served with roasted potatoes and carrots, compliment that with a couple of brews, and you have happy campers. After dinner we lit the cannon a few times, did a little beer drinking, a little guitar playing, and got to view the full moon for a bit (yes we really did see it). Stan entertained us with his stories of his youth....great stuff!. We crashed after a PEGS game and woke up early because Bob was banging around the cabin making coffee. Does Bob really, ever go to sleep?. Between the snoring and piss-trips, it's a wonder he can make coffee in the morning.

Saturday dawned near 60 degrees outside, very weird. The snow pack completely rotted and all the streams turned into blue-slush filled traps. We attempted to do some Skiing and Boarding but it just plain sucked. The terrain in this hidden valley has some really good ski lines, but in these conditions it was just a waste of time. Stan and Bob went over to the ridge to the south and followed part of the old Catamount trail. The terrain was really pretty nice, you just couldn't ski or board it because it was so warm. While Stan and Bob skied the hill, David and Joe skied around the pond and threw snowballs and took pictures.....or at least DP did, Joe left his camera back at camp, whatz up with that?.. Later Joe and Bob went up behind the cabin for a ski. We found some really cool lines, but your skis would just dive and you would end up face down and wallowing in the rotten snow pack. In better conditions this place has some great things to slide down. This weekend all we could do was posthole around and look. It got foggy later in the day and began to snow and or rain. No matter the weather, it's fun just being out in the woods.

At about 3pm Bob and Joe looked down the trial at one point and noticed Jon snowshoeing up to the cabin. He came up all by his lonesome and was wet from the knees down from numerous stream crossings. Apparently Tim was called and declined to accompany Jon on this 2.5-mile hike. Hats off to Jon for participating! We of course had to demonstrate the cannon for Jon and then we ate.......and man , did we eat!. DP roasted a bear pot roast that was incredible. I don't know if this meal can be topped. You could cut it with a fork!, man was that tasty. David fashioned a roasting oven out of twigs and aluminum, and did that work well. Bob had two huge T-bone steaks that were hardly touched despite the fact that they were really good.

After the feast, Jon entertained us with his guitar playing skills, playing some kick-ass blues. Muddy Waters would be proud. We (excluding Joe, he don't play no pegs) played PEGS after down'n a few brews and it was clear that Jon and Bob were the victors. DP and Stan tried but really were no match for the experts. The wind howled Saturday night and the temps dropped. We woke up to find a dusting of new snow and everything frozen solid....well, almost. You could walk around and only posthole every 5th step. We ate breakfast, which included some Jimmy Dean pork sausage cooked by Jon, then proceeded to pack all our shit up.

We now had to ski out towing sleds, which is different going downhill. The sleds tend to ram you and end up off the trail. We all rigged ski poles or a stick that held the sled back so you could control them. The frozen conditions were really difficult. You would ski off into a few inches of fluff and the whole area would collapse (maybe), it was sucker snow. I think we all crashed on the way out, at least once. We ran into some folks who stayed at the Beaver meadow cabin Saturday night. They thought there must have been 20 people at Burling from the noise. DP crashed right next to these people in a great pitched forward out of control skier sled pile up. I am not sure if they laughed, but I know Joe did. All in all despite the rotten weather we had an awesome time. Chick apparently attempted to come in Saturday night but took a wrong turn at some point. I would love to know which way he went. We need to get him to come in with the group so he doesn't get lost.

I think next year we should just plan on Burling, it works well and is actually pretty comfortable.


Low Points:

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