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March 21st, or is it June 21st? The calendar says it is March but the weather feels like it is June.

The Old Men of the Mountain met Tuesday at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown where the weather was the topic of the day. Peepers are peeping, pussy willows are out, spring flowers are in bloom, trees are budding, wild rose bushes are already greened up, and mosquitoes are on the wing…as big as horse flies these blood suckers are. The OF’s were saying now is a great time for the bats to get sick. One OF said maybe this winter will rejuvenate the bats and they will overcome the white nose fungus that is doing them in. There should be plenty for them to eat this spring so they can become stronger.

In this group of OMOTM we have mentioned that some of the OF’s are avid hikers and on this Tuesday quite a group of them attended the breakfast with tee shirts that showed off the group they hike with — basically the Long Path Hikers. This group of about twelve was headed out after the breakfast to go and hike the Christman preserve. One of the OF Long Path Hikers said this was a pretty good hike. The rest of the OF’s couldn’t blame them. The Christman preserve is a nice place and it is just a short distance from the Chuck Wagon Diner and the weather was beautiful. It was a spirited co-ed group that headed out to enjoy the great outdoors.

The OF’s know they are getting older when they start talking about some adventuresome soul (they heard about on the news) going up in a balloon to just nearly the edge of space…and then he will jump! The OF said the plan is for the balloon part to keep on going after he jumps, but the basket will fall back to earth with a pressure switch that will deploy parachutes so it will come to land unharmed. (That is the plan). The OF also wondered who was sponsoring this stunt since balloons are not cheap, and the OF’s have a good idea the suit this jumper will have to wear is not cheap either. What kind of data are they looking for or is it just the notoriety?

One OF brought up the Mike Douglas show on TV awhile back where high divers dove out of an airplane at some ridiculous height into the ocean off the coast of Florida. The OF was taxing his memory but he thought it was Fort Lauderdale, and these daredevils just dove into the ocean and all they had on was scuba wet suits. The diver’s reasoning was once a falling object reaches the point where resistance balances gravity, the falling speed (no matter how high up it starts) goes no faster. (?????). “Well,” one OF said, “I don’t care if it is twenty miles an hour, or one hundred and fifty miles an hour, I am staying in the plane until the pilot lands it.”

The OF said that there have been some high jumps in the past with the highest being over one hundred and two thousand feet. If the OF’s remember their high school math, no matter how high up you go the speed will only be about one hundred and thirty five mph once the jumper hits the atmosphere. Then once his chute opens and there is more wind resistance to counteract gravity the jumper should hit the ground just like other jumpers that jump just for kicks. However, out in space that is another thing because the jumper might get to really whipping along, but as long as his suit holds together and he has oxygen it should just be like any other sky dive only a tad longer.

The OF’s were mentioning how well the deer look this spring. This led to talk of hunting with bow and arrow and it isn’t even close to hunting season. One OF said that many of the arrow shafts now are fiberglass and don’t break off. This same OF said he shot a deer once and when dressing it out he found an arrow inside the deer that did not seem to have any affect on the animal. Another OF said some arrows do have an affect though, and the arrow sticking out of a deer shot with one of these fiberglass arrows does not kill the deer. As the deer crashes through the woods the shaft will catch on brush and the wound will just get worse until eventually the deer dies of the wound and becomes food for turkey vultures, and crows, and maybe dogs. This OF thinks it is better to have a shaft that breaks so this won’t happen.

Those OF’s meeting at the Chuck Wagon Diner, on Route 20 in Princetown and all planning on staying on the ground were: Henry Witt, Jack Norray, Garry Porter, Miner Stevens, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, Arnold Geraldsen, Glenn Paterson, Mark Traver, Jim Rissacher, Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey, Harold Guest, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Willard Osterhout, and a host of hikers with more energy that most of the OF’s, and me.

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