Sunday, January 22, 2012

Finally, Feet not Inches!

"Hi! We're having a GREAT time!" declare Max & Zorro
We finally got our first storm of the season to measure the snowfall in feet instead of inches! It's only about 2 months later than normal; but it's here!

With this great snow overnight, Max, Zorro & I decided to head out to French Gulch this morning. We found ourselves breaking trail in 12-20 inches of fresh, beautiful powder for about 3.5 miles of the outing - what a treat.

In years past, French Gulch has been one of our favorite trails. But, with the lesser than normal snowfall this season, French Gulch had turned into a hazard track - including: (1) one busted binding from catching an exposed rock; (2) one bent pole from catching an exposed rock; and (3) one twisted knee from catching an exposed rock. I had declared French Gulch "off limits" before today. But, with over a foot of fresh snow, we gave it another try. What a hit! We were breaking trail in 12-20 inches of fresh powder over the same sections that had beaten and battered me. French Gulch is officially (and finally) back in our selection of skijoring routes! Today's Route:

(1) Start at the BnB trailhead and skijor up French Gulch Rd, following the tracks from a 4wd vehicle that had braved the terrain before us (no plows - yeah!). Continue to and past the French Gulch winter trailhead.

(2) Proceed onto the French Gulch trail and follow existing ski tracks for the first 50 yards or so and then we were on our own (the existing tracks transitioned off French Gulch towards Sally Barber Mine). We were immediately in 12+ inches of powder and breaking trail in 12-20 inches for the next 3.5 miles!

(3) Eventually connect back to French Gulch Rd and follow the 4wd tracks back to the BnB trailhead.

Vital Stats: 7.5 miles (3.5 breaking trail in 12-20 inches); 105m total time; 95m skijoring time; 21 MPH top speed; 800 feet of elevation gain. As usual, breaking trail at this depth for this distance lead to a slower than normal outing; but a more tiring than normal due to plowing through the powder!

Within a 1/8 a mile of the French Gulch trailhead, we were deeper than a foot!
Time to remove the neckline from Max & Zorro - they cannot maneuver in snow
this deep if they are connected. The neckline is for control on packed trails and
snow less than a foot deep.
Over 18 inches deep far back in French Gulch - time to switch to single file
skijoring and let Max and his snow stilts (long legs) break trail for Zorro and I.
Still in single file mode - Zorro straining his neck to see over the tall snow
around him and white butt in front of him.
A look back at our "trail blazing" tracks and the snow covered trees along
the trail. What a beautiful powder day!

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