Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cross-Country Skiing - Jan. 12, 2008

Our Mat-Su Borough provided an activity called Winter Trail Days at Hatcher Pass in the Talkeetna Mountain Range. They had cross country skis and boots and snowshoes (provided by a local outfitter, REI) that you could use for free. They also had people there who were giving lessons on cross-country skiing. They had a mountain bike racecourse laid out and groomed trails for skiers. Fortunately for us “newbies”, the trails circled a small area, so we were never way back in the wilderness. We were always in sight of the instructors who could help us and encourage us. Doug even got his picture taken by the local newspaper. Thank goodness they didn’t take my picture at the same time they took his. I just happened to be on the ground when the photographer snapped a shot of Doug (who was upright). I guess it didn’t matter though. We checked the paper today and they chose to put in a picture of a couple of cute little girls who were sailing along on their first attempt at cross-country skiing.

As you can see, it was a gorgeous day. The temperature was 0* but there was no wind. There were burn barrels all fired up so you could warm up. But we didn't really need to take advantage of the fires.  Once Doug and I got the hang of it, we got warmed up really fast. After about an hour and half we took a break and ate the lunch we had packed. Then we went a couple rounds before we thought we should call it a day (since we could both still walk and didn’t hurt anywhere). We thought it best to quit while we were ahead. But we intend to try the cross-country skiing again. Our instructor told us about some other trails in the area. I think he only mentioned the ones where he thought we couldn’t get into too much trouble!!
When we were finished and turned in our equipment, we had hot chocolate and hot cider (compliments of the bourough).

As we waited for the activities to begin, we noticed the frozen waterfalls on the sides of nearby mountains.  In the summer, these are actually waterfalls tumbling down the hillsides.  If you look closely, you can see the frozen waterfalls in this picture.