Friday, November 2, 2012

Deteriorating Conditions

"We need more snow! Where is November? What is this?!?" - that is the conclusion from today's outing cut short by deteriorating conditions...

Our plan was to start near 11,000 feet elevation and find useable snow by remaining on trails in the 11,000 to 12,000 foot range. We used the dog sled, instead of the skis, knowing that the conditions would be sketchy or exposed in places. That was the plan... Here was the reality:

The Good
Early on we found some nice snow-packed trails. Spirits were running high, hoping we'd
find some good distance on this type of terrain.
The Bad
So much for "The Good", we quickly encountered bad patches like this - still passable
but very sketchy.
The Ugly
So much for "The Good" and "The Bad", as we neared tree-line, the sun had really taken its
toll on the trail. It took serious effort by the musher to keep the sled on this skinny line of snow!
The Horrendous
Sledding on dirt, grass & weeds - need I say more?
That last picture sure is horrendous, huh? You might be thinking, "How in the world did we sled on this terrain?" Well.... We got an early start today (on the trails by 8am) so that temperatures were well below freezing. Max & Zorro can pull the sled over "frozen ground" without much extra effort. Frozen grass/weeds is the best as it provides a somewhat slick surface for the sled. We cannot do this for long distances (without damaging the sled), but we can traverse short sections of "no snow" when the ground is frozen.

Needless to say, our plan (stay above 11,000 feet and find snow) was a failure. We had to cut the outing short due to lack of snow and extremely deteriorating conditions. The total outing was a measly 5.3 miles with 850 feel of elevation climbed. We Need More Snow!

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