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||839 km521 mi|
|Max distance||65 km41 mi|
|Avg distance||8 km5 mi|
|Total duration||7 days 13h:07m|