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.
A short window of time for both of us. Roxane drove straight to the landing. I had taken the boats to the job and left there at 3:15 to meet Roxane at the landing. We got on the water and the temperature and wind were milder than we expected but the colors were all we hoped they would be. It was nice to hear and see some loons and Roxane was able to get quite close to a young one.
A leisurely trip around Lowell Lake. This time with my neighbor who is a science teacher so we noticed many plants and animals along the way, from turtles with orange shell interiors to spiral stemmed water plants. My neighbor got to see a big snapping turtle below the surface.
I didn’t have much time to paddle but making the best of it I headed out on the reservoir and came upon some loons splashing. It was a pair with a young one. I’ve included a few shots of them. I soon realized I have more errands to run before heading back to work so headed back to the landing without taking in much of the shoreline.
Already in the Middlebury area, I took a little time out to ski. Conditions were perfect, to start with at least. Well groomed trail with an inch of new power was perfect for skating. If you view the "Stats" mode on the map you’ll see I had a false start and went back to trade in my fleece vest for a wind shell. I skied this trip with no pack or even water.
Snow was coming down heavily on the drive to Rikert. Once there I could see the wind was blowing the snow so a pulled on my anorak before heading out. It remained on for the trip. I headed up to the end of the western leg of the race trail which come to find out was named Craigs Hill, the upper end of which I took on the last trip to Frost Trail.
The upper most trail was all ungroomed while the close-in snow making trails were groomed fit for the Olympics. Quite a contrast. I accessed the backcountry trails by climbing the racing trails. My extra wide waxless, backcountry touring skis more than filled the tracks as racers whizzed by me on skinny skis.
Finally a decent amount of snow. Classic out on the natural snow and skate skis on the man made. Very nice to have snow but not lots groomed yet.
Still with thin cover but the snow in the race track is getting thicker as more has been added. Still it has been too long since I last got out to ski and it felt good to slide. I tried the practice loops on the other side of the highway but there really wasn’t enough snow. Some dirt and grass had been tilled up to the surface so it was a dodge-the-dirt exercise. This was just a skating day.
|Total distance||717 km445 mi|
|Max distance||65 km41 mi|
|Avg distance||8 km5 mi|
|Total duration||6 days 12h:41m|