Sunday, February 9, 2014

Shallow to Deep

Today's skijor outing in French Gulch found us laying fresh tracks on 2 inches of snow and breaking trail in 15+ inches of snow. Yes, this all happened on the same trail!

"Look at the deep snow we found! Wheee!" express the happy Siberians looking back at me
at our turnaround point of the day.

Check out the following two clips from our outing - a contrast of the conditions at the French Gulch Trailhead and the conditions far back into French Gulch...

Laying fresh tracks in about 2 inches of fresh snow.
Notice the massive "plow wall" to the left of Max. A few days ago the French Gulch trail
was level with this wall. Oh those darned plows wrecking our trail!
Powering through 15+ inches of soft powder far back in French Gulch.

A "plow wall", really? I'm sure you are thinking - isn't French Gulch a winter trail? Well, there is a winter gate that closes off French Gulch to public vehicles and transforms it into a wonderful backcountry trail all winter. But, unfortunately, there are 4-5 private cabins in the gulch and (believe it or not) 2-3 active mines in the gulch. The unfortunate part is that the owners of these cabins and mines have a key to the winter gate and they can open it whenever they choose. Usually this is not a problem as the gate is occasionally opened for the owners to run snowmobiles up the gulch to their cabin or mine. Today was the exception, though, as one of these owners opened the gate and PLOWED the trail! ARGH!!!

It was only plowed for the about the first 1.5 miles; but it was plowed! What's wrong with a little plowing, you ask... Well, once plowed, this section of trail is 1-2 sunny days away from having exposed dirt & rocks on the trail - UGH! Look at the photo with the plow wall again and realize the snowpack on this trail was over 4 feet deep just a few days ago; that would have been a snowpack keeping this trail useable well into April or May. Yet, some idiot plowed it away!

The only positive outlook: it has been snowing all day today and is supposed to snow well into Monday. We are hoping the current storm dumps a foot or more of new snow on French Gulch and rectifies this plow atrocity.

The only redeeming quality of the plowed trail - a Siberian Fast Track. Here's a fun clip of Max & Zorro transitioning from a light trot into an all out sprint. But, we would trade the sprint for the 4 foot snowpack any day - stupid plow!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As has been the pattern for most of the season in French Gulch - moose sighting! You cannot see it in the photo below, but you can see the intense focus from the Siberians!
"Moose, moose moooooose!" exclaim Max & Zorro as moose are the only wildlife that can
pull them off trail like this.

A fast day on the lower trail, an aerobic trail breaking day on the upper trail leading to 7 miles with 750 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 87 days on the trails covering 740.3 miles with 86,100 feet of elevation climbed.

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