Monday, May 7, 2012

Ice Mountain, WV...and Ultrarunning

[photo by Gary of small toad at Ice Mountain]

Over the weekend the bride and I, plus 2 kids (including Mister Tristan, the 4-year-old human being, not the blog), visited the Ice Mountain Preserve in Hampshire County, WV. 

This is a place where a large, steep talus slope of deep rocks traps cold air well into the late spring and early summer.  From the web site:

For generations of North River Mills residents, summertime meant weekend pilgrimages to Ice Mountain. There, at the rocky base, they’d chip off chunks of ice to cart home as the critical ingredient in fresh, homemade ice cream and chilled lemonade.

Ice Mountain gets its name from the refrigeration effect that takes place inside its talus — a sloping mass of boulders at the foot of a mountain. In cooler months, dense, cold air sinks deep into the talus, and ice masses form inside. As the weather warms up, the cooler air flows out of vents among the rocks at the bottom of the slope. It’s here, at the foot of the mountain, that many local children would eagerly gather ice.

This spring revealed no ice--probably due to our mild winter--but the vents were blowing air at 39 F, so the geological effect was certainly evident.  We will need to go back next spring, when we may perhaps see ice.

Anyway, the link to Ultrarunning?  The trail to Ice Mountain first goes up over a low ridge, then drops to river level on the other side.  Many in our guided group were huffing and puffing over the uphill portions. I smiled secretly inwardly--it was exactly the kind of trail and uphill slope that I eagerly look forward to in an ultra, just for the ability to rest while walking.

Thus one man's labor is another man's rest.

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