Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What Kind of Vehicle Made Those Tracks?

End of our vigorous outing.
Happy boys stepping off the trail.
Wednesday was a fun skijoring day in the backcountry - nice snowfall at the lower elevations; tons of fun untouched powder at the higher elevations...

The Route: (1) start at French Gulch winter trailhead and head up the gulch trail: a few other ski tracks, 3-5 inches of powder; (2) out ski the existing tracks about 1/2 way up the gulch and then break trail in increasing from 6 inches to 18 inches of powder! (3) turnaround at the edge of the last clearing in the gulch and then sprint back down the way we came up; (4) hang a left at Sally Barber trail and ski up to Sally Barber mine: 3-5 inches of powder again; (5) sprint down the backside of Sally Barber to the Barney Ford trailhead: again, 3-5 inches of powder.

Funny Conversation: as we were loading into the jeep at the finish (Barney Ford trailhead), a skier we had seen out on the trail met up with us. We flew by him on the trail with just a quick "on your left" & "thanks" interchange as we sprinted by. Now at the trailhead he had the chance to talk with us about skijoring. His first comment, "I was wondering *what* made those uphill tracks - and now I see." He then described the mysterious looking tracks to him: parallel uphill with ski pole holes too far apart to make sense. A traditional cross country skier would need to be at least 12 feet tall to mimic the ski pole holes Max, Zorro and I leave - I push off my front foot in unison with Max & Zorro's pull and we glide between pushes at a distance that makes no sense to cross country logic... How can you remain parallel and have your ski pole holes so far apart? Well, with Siberian skijoring engines, that's how!

Vital Stats: 9.1 miles; 1h 55m total; 1h 40m moving time; 5.5 MPH moving average.
Cruising the upper parts of French Gulch.
Notice Max's long back left leg - this gives you a feeling for how deep the powder was.
Breaking trail in 12+ inches - what a workout!!!
The path ahead in the last open meadow in French Gulch.
Pristine, untouched powder - a trailblazers dream!
Taking a break in upper French Gulch.
Max's definition of "break" is "dig as deep into the snow as you can."
Some day Max (or Zorro) are going to tell me just what it is they are digging for when we take a break.
Max and Zorro in Siberian Heaven - snow covered heads, chest deep powder.
At Sally Barber Mine: a piddly 3 inches of powder.
Max & Zorro looking forward/left in unison, "Is this the way back to the fun, deep powder?"

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