We are thankful this thanksgiving for enough snow to open one of our favorite trails: French Gulch!
|Laying fresh tracks far back in French Gulch. Love this trail!|
Why is French Gulch one of our favorite trails? Well, it is "close to home" (my like) and it has a thriving moose population (Max & Zorro's like). We did not encounter any moose bodies today; but we did encounter tracks and filled our noses with the aroma of moose present throughout the gulch!
|"Sniff, sniff, the moose have been here recently!" say my head-dunking, sniffing partners.|
All the indentations in the snow around us were recent moose tracks.
Here is an interesting photo to consider. We are deep in French Gulch with a clear trail in front of us and bushes taller than me all around us (so 6+ foot tall bushes). French Creek is to our right, deep in the bushes. Now, this part of the gulch is very popular with moose (they like to hang in the creek amongst the tall bushes). So, we are skijoring down a trail with bushes taller than me knowing that there could be a moose just feet or yards away and we cannot see it! It is always a little unnerving to skijor this section early season! Now, consider this... By January there will be enough snowpack in French Gulch that these bushes are covered and this picture would look like a plantless open meadow of snow! Yes, the snowpack will be in excess of 6 feet soon.
|Noses and ears on alert - is there a moose or two just yards away in the bush?|
But, it is still early season (and we've had a slow start to the snow this year); so French Gulch had it's occasional obstacles...
|Exposed tributary to French Creek. Off with the skis to hike over.|
"Scanning for moose to the left!" states intense Zorro.
"Ok, then I'll scan to the right!" says intense Max.
We had some nice stretches of 3-5 inches of snow (first photo above) and a few stretches of fast packed 1-2 inches to zoom, zoom, zoom:
|Zorro the flying Z and Max in a fast sprint tuck - wheeee!|
First run of the season on French Gulch - not perfect conditions but good enough for a skijor outing: 8.1 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.
2016/2017 Season to Date: 16 days on the trails covering 113.5 miles with 11300 feet of elevation climbed.