Sunday, February 26, 2012

X-Country Skiing - February 18, 2012

We went cross country skiing for my birthday last weekend. Our plan was to try some different different trails. As you can see from the pictures, it was a gorgeous day. We drove about an hour and a half toward Talkeetna. We first stopped at Fish Lake. We talked to a lady in the parking lot who had just finished her ski. Fortunately, she was a local and could fill us in on the helpful hints. We pretty much surmised that she was a regular, since she had just finished her ski with a baby on her back. This was a "lazy ski". It was about three miles around, but it was all flat. We were actually skiing on the lake, not on the ground around the lake.

This photo was taken from the parking lot as we approached the lake. The next three photos were taken from beside the snow bank where you can see that the trails drops off toward the lake.

View of lake to the left.

View of center of lake .

View of right side of lake.

The friendly lady in the parking lot told us to ski in a clockwise direction around the lake. She said that it would be a pretty view. Holy cow! She failed to mention that the pretty view was of Mt. McKinley, Mount Hunter and Mt. Foraker. If we had skied in a counter clockwise direction, we most likely never would have noticed this view, as we would have been skiing with the mountains to our backs. By the time we would have gotten to the other side of the lake and faced the mountains, we would have been too close to the trees to get any view of the mountains.

The friendly parking lot lady had also told us that there were some brand new trails just 3 miles up the road toward Talkeetna. So after we finished at Fish Lake we headed to the X-Y trails. These new trails had just been put in last fall. They went around X Lake and Y Lake (but not around Z Lake).

This ski was not difficult, but it did have up and down slopes. We were skiing on trails that are used as hiking trails during the summer, so we were not on the flat lake.

These pictures of Denali (Mt. McKinley), taken from the X-Y trails.

After our ski we stopped at the local grocery store for a birthday dinner of peanut M&M's and Pepsi. Awesome! Actually we did have reservations Saturday evening at a very nice restaurant in Eagle River. But we were having such a great day, we completely forgot about it. We didn't remember until the next evening that we had missed our dinner reservations.

We have had a LOT of snow here this winter.
These pictures are of some of the mailboxes along the roads.

On Sunday we skied another new trail at what is called the Moose Range. We didn't have a map for this one. We skied and skied for more than 45 minutes and never did get turned in the direction of what we thought was heading back to where we parked. The good news is that we could just turn around and follow the trail backwards. We still got our exercise in. The trail was fun, but did not have the spectacular views from our Saturday trails.
Doug was off work on Monday so we skied at Independence Mine at Hatcher Pass. It was challenging because it was overcast and the light was what they call "flat light". There was no definition or shadow in the snow. You could not see the groomed area unless you were standing directly on the trail. The hillside looked like one big glaring white sheet.

One whole hill is the sledding hill and is really packed down from all the sledding. A guy in the parking lot asked us if there was a safe place to take his daughter sledding. We pointed out the sledding hill to him. The reason he was asking for a safe place is because they have avalanches in Hatcher Pass. You would not want to sled down any old hill if you could not tell that the snow was packed.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend!!