MYSTIC--The sites in the southeastern Connecticut seaside hamlet of Mystic are ever present. Mystic Pizza, Mystic Seaport, and mailman Phil Plouffe.
The 30-year mailman, whose route puts his feet on the streets for four to five miles per day, wouldn't have it any other way. Even with a two- to three-foot-deep snow blanket.
“I couldn't imagine being stuck inside and working all day,” said Plouffe, who’s had the same route for nearly two decades. “I don't care what the weather is.”
Evidently, that includes the temperature at 26,000 feet and 30 degrees below zero, which is what it was like when he climbed Mount Everest eight years ago.
“Then, when I'm actually in the Khumbu Icefall, climbing over crevices--unreal,” said Plouffe. “They varied in depth from 10 yards to you couldn't see the bottom of them.”
Plouffe came up several thousand feet short of reaching the summit during his several week ascent. He says he “just got to pooped out. It wouldn't of been safe for me to travel any further up.”
Working the streets this week with snow banks and unshoveled sidewalks isn't too safe either. But, he hit all of his 400 commercial and residential customers because he simply loves winter.
He skis, skates and camps in the winter, even at Mount Washington.
“Some of the coldest nights I've spent in my life I've been on Mount Washington,” said Plouffe, who got the Everest bug after climbing Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, which reaches 23,000 feet.
One skill Plouffe took away from his Everest expedition was better balance, noting that “I slip and slide a lot.”
With temperatures touching the 30s in Mystic Thursday, it seems unimaginable that these conditions would be similar to those when climbing Mount Everest. But Plouffe says it actually was quite similar during his March-April trip there in 2007.
“Camp two is out-of-the-wind and it gets really hot there during the days surprisingly.”
Plouffe’s outdoor adventures will have a different look in a about six weeks.
“I’m heading to California on March 3 for a three-week bike trip from San Francisco down to San Diego and then scoot over to Palm Springs.”