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Archive for July, 2005

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Saturday, July 9th, 2005

Gonfia 2.jpg

It doesnít quite seem like a month since I posted last. To catch up quickly: the bike trip with Andy was fun but kind of rushed. The weather was not great, in fact, who am I kidding: it was crappy. It rained most of the 24hrs. The ride there was nice but the ride back to Milan was rainy and uneventful.

The helo training was OK. I didnít learn much that I didnít already know but I did get to meet up with some friends who manage other huts in the valley. Since the next day was a re-supply day for the huts that were already open I offered a hand to the guys who run Rifugio Gonella on the standard route up the Italian face of Mt. Blanc. We met up in the morning to make the sling loads and then flew up to their hut which is situated on a spur of rock much like ours to unload the supplies as they were flown up. We shoveled snow and ice and then spent the afternoon grilling kebabs.

We had our first reservations on the 17th of June so Luci and I hiked up and spent Wednesday and Thursday opening the our hut. That weekend, two friends from Antarctica came up to visit while visiting Europe on their vacation. It is always fun to have friends come to visit. Sometime during the weekend Luci and I both came down with serious colds that we caught in the valley. We had our own re-supply flight in the middle of the week. I stayed up at the hut recovering until the last minute when I got pumped up on vitamins and asprin for the hike down. The shopping for the month was rough but it all went off without a hitch. Nor were there any dramas the next day at our helo pad.

The weather was nice and then got very hot after opening. We had a pretty steady flow of guests up until Saturday. On Saturday we were full. We even had to inflate our inflatable beach mat. Once again, no dramas, and it hardly even felt like we were full. Our Fourth of July celebration was grim. It was snowing and cold. We did grill ribs though which sort of made me feel like being at home on the Fourth. Even though I am beginning do doubt whether I remember what the Fourth in the States is like considering it has been eight years since I have been home for one.

Since Saturday the weather has been terrible. At the beginning of the week there were thunderstorms and as the week goes on it has turned to sub freezing temps and snow. Almost all our reservations for this Saturday have called and canceled. We have still been grilling as often as possible. I try to keep it serious but it really is a lot of fun.