Sunday, April 3, 2011


Remember when you were a kid and the snow was starting to melt? It would turn into slush. The perfect stuff kids like to jump in. It would spray everywhere with each step. The good kids remembered to put their boots on to keep their shoes and socks dry. Now the other kids, I think they grew up to be trail runners. This was the theme of my run on Sat. I knew it would probably rain on me. It had been raining for most of the week. The trails would be muddy. The temps were cool bring snow to the upper parts of the Tiger Mt. The day starts off dry and the trail in good shape. I might get lucky on today’s run. I move easily through the new fallen snow when I get to it. At the top of Tiger three there are a group of hikers that have come from Tiger 2. Good I have a broken trail through the snow. Off down the hill I go, over Tiger two and on to Tiger one. There are still tracks in front of me as I run toward East peak. The snow is in good shape and the mud is still ok. I meet the two runners that set the track as I work my way up East peak. Their track stopped at the road section. I keep going to the summit. So far the temps are keeping the snow dry enough to me to be comfortable. Down and on to Middle peak. Descending Middle peak things start to change. The snow is turning to slush. The snow bombs start coming off the trees. Every step I take I am splashing my other foot. Cold water is going in taking place of the warmed up water there.  I make the turn toward South peak and start to wonder what I am doing here? Should I skip South peak today? I look at my watch and see that if I turn around now that I will be out there for enough time to get the workout in I was looking for. This is starting to not be fun; I back track the route I have run. The valley between East and Tiger one is a major slush fest. I run into two trail running friends of my on the way up toward Tiger one. The temperature has gone up since I have started today. The nice snow is now slush, slush and more slush. As I get to the top of Tiger Three things turn better. I can get my feet warmed up on the downhill run back to the car. Today’s run was a lesson in perseverance. I am glad I went out and experienced nature in all it has to offer. It makes the sunny dry trail days so much nicer.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Night Skiing

I have thought of skiing the Mt Catherin loop after lesson for weeks. On Sat the weather was great. It was a sunny day with good snow conditions. I finished up with a clinic and put all my gear in my car. I grabbed my head lamp and put it my coat. With my water bottle and one gel pack I was off for a workout. It was 4:20 when I left the parking lot.  I figured I would just go up to Windy pass. While skiing up toward Windy Pass I saw Phil. He said the groomer had just gone around the Mt Catherin loop and encouraged me to do it. That is all it took for me to make the commitment. While skiing toward the second switch back I saw what I though was a large dog. I figured there was someone else skiing. I did not see any ski tracks going uphill. The animal saw me. I minute latter a second animal comes along. They were a hundred yards in front of me.  I figured out they were coyotes. I am glad man is on top of the food chain. It was me, them and a lot of nothing else. I enjoy being out on my own traveling through the wilderness. Skiing out there in the silence watching the light fade is a special thing for me. There are track set in the snow for my skis to follow. I have been skiing for many years. I do not need to see to ski in conditions like this. What I can see is the trees on each side of me. I should say I can see the difference between the trees and the packed trail under me. My feet give me the feedback on what is happening under them as the trail angle changes. At Windy Pass and it is still light enough to see. The trail rolls up and down here. I get views of all the cars going home on I-90 from a day of skiing. In a half mile I start in to a long downhill. I am holding back on my speed as I cannot see the trail below my skis. I am feeling good and the world is sliding away under my feet. After a while the trail goes through the trees. I can see only the shadows of the trees beside me and the stars above me. I cannot see what is up and down. I figure it is time to put my headlamp on so I can see what is going on. There is one last climb to do. I had done this climb while helping with the run Cascade Crest. It brought back memories as I was working my way to the top.  Grand Junction is where the trails meet and I start the downhill run back to my car. I found it interesting skiing down Creek Run with my little headlamp. I should get a brighter head lamp. I picked up the fresh groomer track at the access road cut off. Skiing got a lot easier at that point. I was at my car two hours after I started. What a great loop that was. I loved all the silence, stars and everything nature gave me for those two hours on my own.