Having many classic ski trips under my belt over the winter I finally felt in good enough shape to try a skate trip at Mt Tom. I assumed very crowded trails with these stellar and rare conditions but to my surprise I was perhaps the third skater since last grooming. I crossed paths with 2 skiers and as many walkers.
Over Thursday and Friday Wild wings got 20” of new snow which was enough to cover wet spots that had been appearing. Wild Wings groomed it up to perfection by Saturday and it was wonderful. The snow was warm and a bit sticky and slow but the trails got more and more packed by traffic so the glide was consistent over the day. I got there before Roxane and got my gear and myself ready.
A late start at Wild Wings Ski Tourning Center but a great ski. I met with Chuck in the shop and he said it was a klister day. I didn’t have any so used the hardwares I had. Actually I had the opportunity to use 3 different ones because as Chuck predicted they came off on the abrasive granular snow.
A perfect ski day. Below freezing but not too much. Only trouble was there wasn’t much time left in the day when I started. Oh well, best of all I got to do Chickadee and Loon for the first time this year. The logging operation that has been a hold up on opening these trails seems to be finishing up. They were loading logs at the road crossing. For once I chose the correct skis.
I was very determined to use my skinny, waxable racing skis even though I was planning to hit some more remote trails. Have I made this mistake before? All the time! I just can’t seem to leave behind the glide of my racing skis and don my waxless backcountry skis that, in comparison, seem like snowshoes.
Nice to ski some hills! New switchback on the return to the Center confused me as I was prepared to make a left turn but the new trail continues straight. There was a crash but enough snow to cushion the landing.
Opening day for the 2017-18 season. Nice snow and trails in great shape for the first day. As for me, not in great shape but skiing will help that! Yes, I forgot to start tracking until I got to the first road crossing.
October 15th! I had to check. So late in the foliage season and still not much color. None the less it was a great hike. Missy, the boarder collie, was well behaved and healed so close to me that she sometimes tripped me. There was a couple on top and another I met coming down the path just before the top.
After a crazy warm spell in February we lost all of our snow but a March storm brought us enough so XC ski places could open again. Wild Wings was my choice to try out the new snow. I warmed up on their Woodcock trail to discover my tape wax was working reasonably but would sometimes stick and sometimes slip. So it is with waxed skis around the freezing point.
With the threat of high temperatures and rain in the following days, I grabbed my skis and headed for Wild Wings and was so glad I did. I don't remember such fine conditions on such a warm day. My wax skis couldn't get a grip on the 50 something degree snow but my waxless skis worked perfectly! In fact I was surprised how much glide I was getting on such wet snow.
Equipped with both racing and backcountry skis I started out with the backcountry pair because these trails never get groomed any more. Well I've never been so happy to be wrong. Though there were no tracks set, the corduroy trail was very easy and fun to ski compared to the lumpy state we delt with on Thulrday.
My sister, Bonny, and her son, Reid, joined me in a ski to the Mt Tom Star overlooking Woodstock. At 13, Reid has been skiing for a couple of years at the Bill Koch League at Mountain Top Ski Touring Center and is doing well skate skiing which is the way he went on this trip. He had no trouble keeping up or ahead of Bonny and I on our racing classic skis.
Quite a few other hikers taking advantage of the sunny April day. We felt lucky to have found a place to park. The track shows only the way up. My phone ran out of battery on the trip back down. A nice hike with Roxane and a great view at the top. Here’s a panoramic from the summit: http://pnr.ma/dJOndJ .
Though a late start, it turned out to be a beautiful evening to be out on the rollerskis. Starting out I felt optimistic and set my speed reducers on the first notch. Really this setting does little but keep the wheels from coast spinning when you pick them up off the road.
Completely skunked for skiable snow this past winter, I decided to get some roller skis. These came from Nordic Skater in Norwich, VT and have inflatable tires and aluminum frame. Six inch wheels are made for gravel roads though in my first trial on the driveway, the gravel was too soft for easy forward progress.
With a short window of time to paddle, Peter and I chose to do only Little Lake but once there it was so nice to be on the water we extended the trip by following the inlet and then the outlet before finishing up. A beautiful sunny day. It seemed odd that only a few weeks before we had been skating on 6+ inches of ice on the same lake.
A party of ice fishermen were enjoying the lake but otherwise there was no activity, no skaters. The ice was very good though a little harry getting from the edge onto something firm enough to stand on. On skating around I noticed a snowmobile parked on the ice next to a dock waiting for more snow. Well it is the year for skating instead of snow sports.
I was planning to skate the length of Lake Saint Catherine but I was disappointed to find a large expanse of melted ice on one side of the lake. This prompted me to turn around and head back to the car. It was a round trip starting at the parking lot. I forgot to start my tracking app.
A short day trip, close to following the same steps I first made on the Long Trail but this track stays well below the elevation of the Long Trail on a side trail called the Ice Beds Trail. We left the parking lot in what seemed like a brisk mid morning breeze. The termperature was around freezing but it seemed colder with the breeze and dampness.
|Total distance||781 km485 mi|
|Max distance||65 km41 mi|
|Avg distance||8 km5 mi|
|Total duration||7 days 1h:31m|