Monday, March 19, 2012

A Trace - Lets Go!

We had a trace of new snow at home overnight. But, we have not had new snow in almost 2 weeks; so a trace was enough to send Max, Zorro & I out to the backcountry. It was beautiful up high on our lesser used/lesser known trails; but it was a trace of snow over a sheet of ice near the trailhead.

One of the lesser known trails we use to loop up, down and around Baldy Mountain.
Just the 3 of us laying fresh tracks in a trace & up to 2 inches of new snow. Woo
We started at the Baldy Mountain winter trailhead and took off to explore all the hidden pockets of trails on Baldy. The first mile from this trailhead is very well-known and well-used; so it was skijoring with a trace of new snow on sheet of ice. "It will be an interesting path down!" I commented. After the first mile, we got onto our lesser-known trails that loop us back & forth and up & down Baldy. This was wonderful - 1-2 inches of fresh snow on the packed (but not ice) trails. Wheee, we had a blast cruising around Baldy and laying fresh tracks in the snow. But, eventually we had to come back... I talked with my skijoring buddies and we all agreed, "Every path down is going to be only a trace of snow over a trail of ice. We might as well come back down to the Baldy trailhead since we saw the worst (ice) parts of the trail on the way up!"

Just as we expected, it was a slick & difficult path back down. Constant snowplowing to keep our skijoring vehicle under control on ice. Frequent stops to rest the human's burning legs from pushing so hard to keep under control. Phew, that last mile was tough and slow...

All in, we had a fun & fast first 6 miles flying around Baldy on lesser used trails and we had a very slow final mile coming down steep terrain on sheer ice. 6 out of 7 isn't bad - woos from all  :-)

Taking a quick break near the True Romance Mine. Max looking for the "source"
of all those fox tracks to his immediate left and down to his right.
Same as above... But, the sun just broke through the clouds and Zorro is now
in the "where is the fox" observation point...
Another shot of us cruising up & along the trails.
A glimpse of the untouched 2 inches of snow waiting for us on the trail. Our path
from here is fresh tracks forward and then right at the big tree shadow and up & into
the forest. Wheeee!

Vital Stats: 7 miles; 100m total time; 85 skijoring time (15m for one break and rests for the human on the difficult downhill mile of ice); 14 MPH top speed; a fun 1200 feet of elevation climbed. Given the conditions, we never had a path to "open up the throttle" and hit some really fast speeds.

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