Monday, March 8, 2010


We drove into the muddy parking area of the Yellow pine trail head and set off with cross-country skis to find the frozen lake five miles up the canyon. With several feet of fresh snow on the ground our only option was to follow an existing trail through the deep snow. A trail that we hoped was heading in the right direction.

At least the dog was having a fun time!

Sasha's only form of transportation was to swim through the snow, her legs were not reaching the bottom! But still the stick had to be retrieved.

After a while it became obvious that we were in fact heading off in a different direction than our intended canyon. The snow was too deep to forge ahead in a new direction towards Yellow Pine, so we agreed to keep on the path and see where it would lead us. It zigzagged back and forth, more like a drunken moose had mad it. Not long afterwards we ran into a pack of snow shoe’rs breaking the trail through waist deep powder. Markus, who was first, heard the question, “Do you know where we are?” They all had this bewildered expression upon their faces and seemed a little out of place.

Brilliant! We have been following “the lost” up the side of the mountain. Markus informed them that they were way of course and pulled out the map to show them just how far. We decided to take over and break trail up the hill in a more direct line, instead of the haphazard tree-to-tree zigzag pattern. That maybe fine for snowshoes, but next to impossible on longer cross-country skis. Markus, Victor and I took turns breaking through the fresh snow farther up the hill; we decided to head to a vantage point where at least we might get a glimpse into the canyon. The others seemed content to follow behind us, since we were now in charge of breaking the trail.

We went on for maybe another hour and finally took a long lunch break, pushing your way up the side of a hill through deep snow is not an easy job. And in fact after a while we were all sick of it and quite hungry. The sun was out and we cleared out some places to sit in the snow. Lunch was good, especially with the Girl Scout cookies I had in my pack!

Nice spot, eh!

Group shot, taken by the lost show shoe people!

After that we headed back down. For some odd reason we figured the grade we came up on was not that steep and would require some effort to slide down it. We were wrong! Markus and Victor soon disappeared out of sight as they flew down the path we had just made. I took off after them; which was a futile. I never saw sight of them and decided it best to stop and wait for Lina and Karin. Twenty minutes went by and nobody. The thought crossed my mind that it might be better to ski back up and see what the problem was. I saw very quickly that Lina had a bit of a challenge. She would point her skis down the path and take off at speeds reaching the speed of sound, followed shortly afterward by a colossal whip-out in the powder. Obviously this method would take some time to get down the hill and most likely would end up with a few broken body parts.

I did my best to show her that by placing one of your skis in the fresh snow off to the side of the path it would slow you down, somewhat! At least you could control your speed a little better. It worked, the whip-outs were less severe and we slowly made it down the hill. At the bottom Markus and Victor had already build a snow cave. Obviously they felt it necessary to rub it in that we were so slow that they had time to build accommodations.

I’m now sitting on the couch with a gin and tonic in hand. No bones were broken today!

Richard Boyer

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