The Land of Unending Drifts…
Today’s key swap started off a bit rocky, but everyone got to ski and no one got left at a trail head or Seven-11. It might seem like I’m too detail-oriented getting things set up, but clearly not enough. We were fifteen NB skiers and six SB, today Rich gets the Most Mileage Award since he skied SB until the groups met (way south of the half-way point) and then turned and skied NB.
The NB group’s morning started at 10:45 (cold and cloudy and calm) with missing blazes where the CT leaves the snowmobile trail. The rest of the morning consisted of breaking trail and squabbling over who got to break trail. Our pace was pretty slow, even though the trail breakers were swapping off and basically doing intervals. Early on the SB’ers radioed to say they were out on the reservoir skiing since they were having too much trouble with the drifts in the woods. This required regular radio contact so that we didn’t ski past each other and miss the key swap. We also had a broken pole, but luckily we were carrying a spare.
We met up at the snowmobile trail to the lake. Now the SBers got to ski our broken trail for the rest of their trip, and the NB’ers, it seems, had only done 2.0 miles by 12:30. Given the slow pace breaking trail and the fact that the drifts were getting deeper and harder, the NBers slowly leaked out on to the reservoir (what happened to all those people who wanted to break trail before lunch?). I declared that skiing the reservoir instead of the trail still ‘counted’ as skiing the Catamount Trail for today’s end-to-end hopefuls.
I did a bit of trail breaking in the woods on my own (I rarely get to the front of the pack) after everyone else was on the lake. I like breaking trail, and even though I was having to climb up over drifts that were about waist high, and that busted apart in big chunks the size of a large pizza, I thought “I could do this all day.” Then I looked up the lake, saw how far it was to the end, and realized that that was exactly what would happen, so I answered my co leader’s plea to join the rest of the gang on the lake. I usually don’t like skiing on lakes, you can see for hours where you are going and there is no challenge, but this day, being calm, was pretty nice. I tried not to think about the water coming up through the ice, and the big cracks to voids under the ice sheets, and enjoyed the kick and glide. We could see the slopes of Mt Snow to the south and the flanks of Stratton Mountain to the north.
When we got the end of the lake, we could see that the SBers hadn’t even tried to ski the trail, just went right for the lake. Must have been the Grout Pond drifts that wore them out. We skied north through hardwoods and spruce, climbing up to Grout Pond and the new re-route off the snowmobile trail. The drifts here were already broken out by the SBers and we moved along pretty well. We finished at Grout Pond Parking about 4:00. Today was warmer than what we had been experiencing, but never above freezing. Thanks to Jim and Mary Lou Briggs, and Alan Binnick, Trail Chiefs, for their work keeping this remote section of trail open.
SWLT Rest Day
Brian skied part of Section 12S, Craig and Bill and Randy skied Section 2, I did laundry and six non-stop laps in my tele-glades (well, ok, one face plant). Anyone else have any rest day ski adventures? I know for some of you this rest day was just another work day, sorry to rub it in.