Tuesday, March 24, 2015


It was a great day on fresh snow at Sally Barber and French Gulch!
A great day until (read on to see).....
Zipping along the Sally Barber Mine Trail as we are second tracks on the morning's
fresh snow.

We skijored up & over Sally Barber Mine and then took a peek at French Gulch to see if the morning's new snow was enough to continue out & back the gulch. We were delighted to find 3-4 inches of untouched snow on the main French Gulch Trail. "Woo hoo!" we all thought as it looked as though we were going to have a successful run in the gulch...
Laying fresh tracks up French Gulch! It looked so promising at the beginning of
this trail.

I have mentioned in a past blog, some idiot plowed the lower French Gulch Trail in early March. Since that plow disaster, lower French Gulch has been skiable only 2-3 days after fresh snow and then it deteriorates down to rocks, dirt & puddles. Well, we had fresh snow overnight, so we were hoping this would make for a fun run out & back in the gulch. It started great, as shown above; but a couple miles out and disaster happened...

As we were cruising along the trail, almost to the end of the plowed atrocity (and into pristine upper French Gulch), we had a slush disaster on the trail. For a stretch of about 10-15 yards, the trail was complete slush (from side to side) hidden by the morning's fresh snow. We tried to avoid the slush but could not as it spanned the entire width of the trail. The result was I came out the other side of the hidden slush with my skis caked with 3+ inches of wet slush. The skis were completely unusable as the slush would not come off the skis and, thus, the skis would not slide. Disaster...
Coming back on the French Gulch Trail and you see the wet slush disaster in the trail. You can
see by the footprints that we tried every angle to get through this without destroying the skis
but with no luck. I am carrying the skis over this section on this return section of the outing.
Note the snow wall to the right - this is how deep the snowpack is supposed to be in French
Gulch this time of year! Plow Jerks!

I took the skis off and hiked up the trail a bit with Max & Zorro (trying to get the thick slush off the skis as I walked). It was beginning to look hopeless when I got a great idea - use the sun to help! There was a bright shining sun in the ski and we were at around 11,000 feet elevation - the sun had to help! So I called everyone off the trail and into a patch of sun to work on the skis...
"Right? Okay, but why are you still carrying those skis? You sure are slow on foot!" say my
agreeable partners.

Into the sun and I planted the skis with their slushed bottoms facing the sun. The skis are black, the sun was bright and we were at 11,000 feet close to the sun - this had to work, I thought:
Skis planted in the direction of the sun to help get the stuck slush off the bottoms.
"How long do you think this is going to take? I'm bored!" whispers Max to Zorro.,

It worked, it worked!!! Within minutes of help from the sun, I was able to knock the thick slush off the skis and then pull out my swiss army knife and scrape the last layer of slush off the skis. Oh boy, it is working; but this is sure taking a while. Such good boys to be patiently waiting for me...
Scrape, scrape - removing the disaster from the skis so they will glide in the snow again.

Such good boys patiently waiting for me until... Until I took toooo long! After about 10-12 minutes of watching me dork with the skis and Max & Zorro lost patience:
"Woo - you are soooo slow! Let's gooooo!" insists Max.
"Aaaahhh - I'm getting bone rot waiting soooo long!" exclaims Zorro.

Well, we finally got the skis back in order. We then hiked and carried the skis back past the slush obstacle and then (finally) we were back to skijoring:
The human is finally back to skijoring normal! Zoooom we go again!

A day that started so promising but then was slowed by extended "ski maintenance": 7.6 miles with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2014/2015 Season to Date: 107 days on the trails covering 924.9 miles with 98,350 feet of elevation climbed.

No comments:

Post a Comment