The recent weather pattern, which is yet to complete, has been very un-February-like.
Though not as warm as last year’s record breaking days, except for the trails at Elk, no snow in the neighborhood.
When the panoramic views from the top of the mountain reveal more Spring then Winter, the patterns left in nearby trees by overnight freeze reminds us that we’ll soon see March’s nature, lamb or lion like.
After closing and sweeping trails that won’t be illuminated for night skiing, some of the ski patrol day crew make their way to ride the chair lift one last time for the day.
They’ll wait on top of the mountain at the ski patrol base for the night crew to arrive before skiing their last run down to the locker room.
There, they’ll change some clothing for the ride home, then eat, early to bed, and do it all over again the next day.
In clear weather, a high meadow affords views of both the Little Creek and Tunkhannock Creek East Branch valleys; when snowing traversed on skis, an opportunity to gently commune with one’s breath.
The top of Elk Mountain is now home to several communications towers. Years ago, sometimes you could stand outside the small unmanned support buildings, and hear air traffic and other communications.
Not far from where these towers are now, up until the 1960’s a fire tower stood. I remember climbing up the tower stairs as a youngster, and seeing a transit that the ranger would use to pinpoint a fire’s location.
When looking out at the top of the mountain now and seeing how populated the area has become, it’s difficult to imagine that less than a lifetime ago, there were so few people and telephones to merit manning a fire tower.
The transit is now housed at the Clifford Township Historical Society, and can be seen on their website http://cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org/