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The View Atop the MIT Alps

It was twenty days after the first of six storms swept the area. Over 90 inches of snow had fallen over Boston, bringing all forms of transportation to the brink of failure. Fewer and fewer people have been seen out of doors as the days have gone on, with only the most intrepid, or desperate, braving the winds and snow drifts for succor or trade. DanMeade_northeast

And yet the storms have not just brought ruin. Before breaking bread for our noontime meal today a local acquaintance told me of rumors of a new mountain chain that had arisen from the snows, standing nearly five stories tall. Known as the “MIT Alps,” this ridge of peaks was birthed from a snow farm gone mad. Feeling these claims too bold to believe, I set out to see these “Alps” for myself.

After thirty minutes of trekking westward from the eastern shores of Cambridge I had made little headway. A multitude of drifts, short hills, and a rise more akin to the Appalachians than the mighty Alps of ancient Gaul was all there was to be seen. Fearing my friend’s story to be bunk, and breathing heavily from walking into the swirling winds, I wearily continued forward. Finally, on a hunch, I turned into an alcove off my path and came upon a convergence of trails. I joined the trails, walking in the footsteps of those who had gone before, until my eyes fell upon the most wonderful of sights – the MIT Alps!

Rising indeed to the height of a small building, this mass of snow and ice stood before me, summited by a few brave souls standing upon the highest ridge in the chain. As I neared it, a pair of travelers crossed my path and passed a warning: the local authorities said the Alps were off limits. None were currently in sight, but they might return in force at any moment.

I hurried my pace, not wanting to be blockaded from the peaks. At their base, a series of rudimentary sleds lay broken, smashed to bits, against a fence. Dismissing this omen, I scaled both fence and mountainside until I stood atop the Alps, looking about in wonder.

Blizzards had battered the area and caused so much woe, and yet, without them, I would not be standing atop a mountain that would not exist six months hence. On its sides, the artistry of the wind was writ in lines and swirls. Trails of sled and longjohns ran from peak to base, with intrepid explorers of all ages sliding down from time to time.

Not wanting to tempt the winds or authorities, I stayed atop the tallest of the MIT Alps for only a few moments. A pale city was splayed out in all directions, and yet here, atop the largest deposit of winter’s harvest, it was no frozen necropolis. Children played, drivers moved snow to and fro, and life went on.

It was the surest sign of spring I have seen in weeks, and had I not climbed the MIT Alps, it would have remained hidden to me. Thus, I share my experience with you, so that you too may know that even within winter’s icy grip, life continues, and hope never lays dormant.

— Text & Photos: Dan Meade
Published: February 16, 2015

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