Sunday, April 21, 2024

Mid Winter in Late April

Look at these awesome "mid winter like conditions" we found this morning in late April!

Laying fresh tracks in a light layer of new snow atop an otherwise
perfectly flat & packed trail!

How was this possible? Well, the light layer of new snow is thanks to Mother Nature. The trail is the furthest from civilization on what is Gold Run Nordic Center during winter. But, the nordic center is closed and few, if any, make it out to this trail without a groomer helping pave the way. But, I have Jack & Rudy and that is as good as a groomer for me :) So, this particular trail has sat pretty much untouched since the nordic center closed 3 weeks ago.

So, a trail that has been packed by a groomer all winter + a trail too hard/far for most people to get to + a nice layer of fresh snow from Mother Nature. Well, Jack & Rudy knew what to do with these surprisingly great conditions in April. Come along and watch the video highlight to see for yourself:

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Along the way we did side "backcountry out & back" to visit one of our favorite old mining ghost towns in this area. This is probably our last visit to this location this season as it is very sun exposed and melting fast:

Whee! Zipping by all the old mining buildings in this cool ghost town.

The tracks you see in the prior photo are our own out tracks. Well, that meant we had to turnaround at some point before coming back through the ghost town. Well, yep, you guessed - turnaround, roll around!

Snow angels with a view from the comedians almost intertwined to stay
on the snow and not hit that dirt in front of us :)

Eventually, though, we had to come back to civilization. As I expected, the trail near and leading to the trailhead had been very tracked up with lots of post holes. But, with the morning's new snow (safety dust, as I call it), we were able to continue at a nice pace over the chopped up trail:

Catching air with the help of the safety dust along a trail full of
deep footprints and post holes.

That was fun, right guys?

"Oh yeah! We liked zooming on the mid winter conditions best of all!" says
my fun pals happily awaiting end of run treats.

Some surprisingly nice conditions for most of this late April outing covering 8.8 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 135 days on the trails covering 1155.7 miles with 114,600 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, April 18, 2024

Nice Up High

Turnaround, roll around. Turnaround, woos abound.

Classic Jack rolling his snow angels at our turnaround point this morning.
Singing Rudy offering a tune of woos for his turnaround fun :)

The conditions are pretty nice in the prior photo, right? Just a single set of ski tracks and lots of untouched snow. Well, that photo was at our highest elevation and furthest from the trailhead point of this morning's outing. Here is what we had to endure to get to these "nice up high & far" conditions:

It was tracked up and beat up down lower and close to the trailhead. So beat up that I had to take my skis off and hike down the final hill to the trailhead on the way back! Ugh!

Going gently on super tracked up, choppy and icy trail conditions!

The further we went, the less tracked the trail became, but it was still cautious skiing at the mid elevations of today's outing:

We were able to trot at the mid elevations, but not much faster than that!

Then, as typically happens with my assistance from Jack & Rudy, we out skied just about all existing tracks and footprints. At our highest and furthest from the trailhead section of the outing, it was picture perfect! Only one or two skiers had been out this far before us. Oh my it was BEAUTIFUL up high:

Amazing conditions, especially compared to the mid and low level photos above!

How nice up high? Well, come along and see for yourself. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Today's comedy interlude was hopping off trail at the mid elevations of our outing to search for those pesky rodents hiding under the snow. 

"I think the rodents are down HERE!" declares dunking Jack.
"Really? Well, then, INCOMING!" responds rodent diving Rudy leaping
to join Jack's location.

Once Rudy's dive was complete, the kids started a joint excavation of snow in search for the rodents:

"Dig, dig, dig, where are those pesky rodents?" asks the excavating kids.
Despite lots of searching and digging, nobody came up with a rodent in his mouth!

If you can't chew on a rodent, you might as well accept end of run treats instead, right guys?

"Ok, treats are good; although we'd prefer fresh rodents!" says the
happy & focused kids.

Today's outing was on the short side because I expected the tracked up and hard to navigate conditions at the mid and low elevations. If only we could teleport ourselves to & from the wonderful conditions up high!!! 5.7 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 133 days on the trails covering 1138.7 miles with 112,800 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Still Soft

Wonderful mid-April snow conditions at Sallie Barber Mine this morning! Yay!

Start of the outing on soft snow in an array of pre-existing tracks.

We had 6 inches of fresh snow Monday night and another 3 inches Tuesday day. With that new snow amounts, we decided to try out the Sallie Barber Mine Trail for this morning's skijor. It is really hit or miss what you find on this popular trail, especially now that we are into warm April days and subfreezing nights. To our delight, as you see in the photo above, we found a wide swath of ski tracks from yesterday with still very soft snow in and out of the tracks (the snow can get very punchy and/or icy quick this time of year). So, it was a wonderful glide up front side of the trail to the mine this morning!

Once at the mine, the comedians, Jack & Rudy, put on their typical Sallie Barber Mine Skit: rolling snow angels to cool off after the initial climb to the mine:

Rub a dub dub, snow angels at the historic mine.

We then went down and back up the back side of the mine trail. This side is popular with locals and not so much with tourists, so it is always a little less tracked up. But, today was a shock. Only a single set of ski tracks existed on the back side of the mine - wow! If needed, Jack & Rudy can squeeze into a single set of ski tracks. But, I know Jack (also known as Powder Jack) and he prefers to run in the side powder if it is shallow enough for him to keep pace with Rudy running in track. If it is too deep to keep pace on the side, he'll squeeze into the track with Rudy. But, today, the side was shallow enough for Powder Jack to enjoy fresh tracks alongside in track Rudy:

Rudy using the set track while Jack runs in the shallow side powder.
Powder Jack!

As usual with these two, after going down and back up the back side, it was time to fly by the mine as we started the final descent back down the front side:

The Jack & Rudy usual: rolling snow angels on the first pass by the mine
so you can fly on by the second pass :)

Then it was the final descent of the well-used but still very comfortably soft front side of the trail:

Whee! This will be too icy (in track) or punchy (out of track) in a day or
two to safely skijor (for me :)

Today's video highlight? How about a peaceful glide along excellent conditions on the front side of the Sallie Barber Mine Trail. Come along for a glimpse into the fun:

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, we found nice little snow shelf in the parking lot to climb for end of run treats. But, you had to squeeze in tight and close to fit for the treat handouts :)

The fun kids packed in very tight and close to me to fit for
end of run treats.

A really nice mid-April day on Sallie Barber: 7.6 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 132 days on the trails covering 1133.0 miles with 112,100 feet of elevation climbed.