Monday, November 12, 2012

If Only

Look what we found today:

Breaking trail above the abandoned Warriors Mark Mine. It sure was nice snow up high...
If only that last picture was representative of the whole outing... If only... Here's most of what we found:

Nice bright sun. Nice untouched trail. But very shallow snow in the mid section of Indiana Creek.
Yikes - ice and rocks. Most of the ice could "hold a husky", but the human would break right
through. The recurring rocks just under the snow made for a challenging outing.
Our plan for the day was to tour around the trails of Indiana Creek. We (mistakenly) assumed the snow from last weekend was enough to make these trails skiable. Oh what a mistake... These trails are very rocky and more like mountain bike trails than jeep trails. We didn't have nearly enough snow for most of the route to safely skijor down without catching and falling on a rock. So, the modified outing:

(1) Skijor up Indiana Creek to the ghost town of Dyersville - taking note that this trail was possible to ski up (carefully) but was not a trail we could take down.
(2) Continue from Dyersville up and past the abandoned Warriors Mark Mine - oh what great conditions we had up high! 
(3) Attempt to connect down from the shelf above Warriors Mark to the opposite side of Indiana Creek (opposite side from our route up), hoping the conditions were better on the other side.
(4) Quickly discover the conditions had too many exposed rocks for downhill skijoring. Off with the skis, load them on my backpack and hike around Warriors Mark for 30 minutes looking for a skiable path down.
(5) Give up on Indiana Creek, put the skis back on and skijor up to Boreas Pass Rd.
(6) Skijor down Boreas to Bakers Tank.

A lot of "backcountry exploring" (on & off skis) to learn that last weekend's storm did not dump enough snow on the technical trails to make them skiable in any down directions. Bummer...

Stats of the Outing: a moderate 7.4 miles (taking the skis off sure slows us down :-) with 2000 feet of elevation gain. Nice elevation gain as we kept thinking, "it must get better higher!" - well, we were right about the "better higher" but wrong assuming "there must be at least one skiable path down".

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