Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Max is not shy about letting you know if you are "too slow" getting ready at the trailhead :)
"BORING!!!!! BORING!!! What's taking SOOOO LONG?!?" exclaims impatient Max.
One or two times a season, we have to go out without Nancy as Max & Zorro's pre & post run handler. What does this mean? Well, it means Max & Zorro have to stay in the Jeep at the trailhead while I put on my boots, get out my skis, put on the rest of my equipment, reset my GPS, etc. etc. You get the idea - they have to stay in the Jeep for an ETERNITY waiting for me (versus their usual routine of getting out of the Jeep with Nancy and leaving me to all my chores myself). So, what happens when Max & Zorro have to wait an ETERNITY? Well, look at the prior photo... I get lectures from Max about how slow I am (Zorro will occasionally toss in an opinion too; but Max is the serious lecturer :)

Anyway, on to today's outing.... You may have noticed that references to one of our favorite trails, French Gulch, have been missing for almost a month. Well, French Gulch is one of the first trails to "dry out" and we need big Spring storms to bring it back to life. After an abnormally dry March, we are finally in a pattern of Spring storms. In the past 24 hours, Breckenridge Ski Resort has got 15 inches of new snow and we had at least 7 at home. So, it was time to see if this storm finally had enough snow to bring French Gulch back to life.

Success!!! See below, this is "lower French Gulch" and was dirt & mud just 48 hours ago! It is not the prettiest of trails, but it was enough snow to go.
Woo Hoo, back on French Gulch!
The sad part about French Gulch is that the mid & upper sections always have snow into May and sometimes June. But, the lower section dries out quickly in March/April and needs big storms to bring it back to life. For the curious, there is a gate preventing you from driving lower French Gulch to get to the nice snow up higher.

Here we are in "mid French Gulch" - beautiful!
Laying fresh tracks in about 4 inches of new snow. Yay!
After flying up lower & mid French Gulch, I was thinking we were going to have a 9 mile outing today. But, look what we found in upper French Gulch (remember, Breck Ski Resort got 15 inches and we are on par with the elevation of the ski resort at this point):
Boom! Slowed to a trail breaking crawl in over 18 inches of fresh powder in upper
French Gulch!
We plowed along for a little while in the deep upper French Gulch snow before starting back. Once we got back to the mid sections, we found a group had been out/back behind us. That meant there were two ski tracks in set in the snow and we could each pick a track and gallop back:
I'm following Zorro for this stretch as Max has taken the left track for himself.
Finally, once back to the very popular "lower French Gulch", we found the trail packed enough to sprint side-by-side. Zoom....
Wheeee, zipping along lower French Gulch.
A vocal lecture from Max at the trailhead and then an enjoyable return of the French Gulch Trail: 7.2 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 121 days on the trails covering 1010.2 miles with 107,000 feet of elevation climbed.

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