2004-03-24

Time is Short, but the Snow Still Deep

In many places in Canada they have long lost the snow they had this winter, but the way we got dumped on it might be July before the last of it is gone. Well, maybe the end of April anyway. There seems to be over a meter remaining in most place as we near the end of the first week of spring. This is not a terrible thing though, it means that I can continue to XC ski for a bit longer.

Today it was so warm (0° C) and sunny that it would be a shame to waste it doing anything else. I strapped on my day pack, with snowshoes attached just in case, and headed out. It was around 1330 and I had about an hour before the kids got out of school and the number of snowmobiles on the go took a big jump, so I took to the railbed with is groomed for them first.

Not knowing how many days like this I'd get, I decided to take some detours and try some new areas. The first deviation was to jump over to the pole line instead of going down to the railbed. There appeared to be only the one snowmobile track here, and it was hard and full of alders, so I put my so-called touring skis to the test and tried the untouched snow. I was surprised at how well I was able to travel on top of it. There was only a slight depression in the surfaces behind me. This was fun for a while, but soon the trees became too thick, and I followed the snowmobile track back to the railbed.

Things were normal here as I headed up to the bog just before reaching the industrial park. I continued to go over the less travelled areas until reaching the point where I usually head back to the pond. Instead, I turned left and continued over the bog to a rock where I had stopped for a rest the previous winter while out snowshowing with Parker. Here I removed my skis and pack, and rested a few minutes while taking a few sips of Gateraide.

I decided to keep going this direction and play things by ear. Reaching the point where the trail heads into the woods, I took a right and went over clear snow to another bog where I found a bunch of snowmobile tracks which took me back to where I branched off, and I continued on to the pond.

The pond was in terrible shape for skiing. The snowmobilers travelled over it a couple days before when it was around +7, and the slush was now refrozen into icy lumps and valleys.
The going was slow and I had to constantly make adjustment for the terrain. After a few minutes I was at the other side and in the municipal park. From here I followed the road until it hit the trail to the left which lead to an old road that used to run up behind the town. I tried to find a way to access it while on my mountain bike the previous summer, but couldn't see a good way to get on it. Things are sometimes easier in the winter.

There is a good view looking over the town and the harbour from the highest point, and just past that is the trail which leads back of the lookout and on to the pond again. There must be a half dozen trail heading off in various directions from the pond, so it is a great place to start and end ski trips. Mine ended with another rough crossing to the snowcovered parking area. There I removed my skis and walked the rest of the way home. It had been a wonderful 3.5 hours out enjoying nature.