Sunday, March 8, 2015

In Search of the Loch Ness Skier

Visit #940, Saturday 7 March 15, 9:00-11:15AM, 3.6 miles.
Temps in the high 20's, sunny.

During last week's traipse into the untrampled reaches of Hubbard Park, I noted some cross-country ski tracks disappearing into far off-trail places as well. Rare and daring is the individual who seeks the path not traveled, and I was curious as to where they went. This week's plan was to try and follow their tracks to see what they saw.

I was fortunate to have the company of pal Dave as we explored the deep woods of Hubbard Park.

But to get there involves WORK. As you can see by the angle between Dave and his snowshoes, the slope we went up as we started off was STEEP.

As we trudged through the woods, I found the remnants of a mylar balloon which appeared to have been tied to a twig.

A sign of spring and my return to trash duties, perhaps?

More steepness was encountered as we neared Castle Craig.

We topped out at Castle Craig then set out to find the ski tracks I discovered last week.

With last week's snow, rain, and melt/thaw cycles, it wasn't going to be easy to spot the tracks, but we did.

Now, we just had to make sure we didn't lose them.

Along the way, we found a spot where it appears a deer had bedded down for the night, perhaps after eating chili.

All through this winter, I have been fortunate to be able to venture out to Hubbard Park's reaches in all kinds of weather. I'm by no means some super-rugged outdoors type; at least not compared to Shawn Forry and Justin Lichter. In reading Nicholas Kristoff's account of the two hikers' journey, they made a couple statements with resonated with me and why it's worth the effort to get out there in the snow.

Justin: "With the snow, there's so much natural beauty."
           "It's so peaceful."

Shawn: "I really encourage people to get out in the winter... "You have it to yourself, and it's so peaceful."

Compared to Forry and Lichter, Dave and I were poseurs, but we were having our own little adventure.

Dave and I followed the ski tracks all the way to Merimere Reservoir, which is in the background.

While the ski tracks kept to the slope on the right, Dave and I chose to snowshoe right on the western shore of the reservoir, a rare opportunity indeed.

Along the way, we spotted these animal tracks. Don't look like dog prints to me. Any guesses?

We successfully completed our mission and our trip in under 2 hours. I thought that was kind of short so I started another mission.

While driving into Hubbard Park that morning, I'd spotted trash along the road. It reminded me of the return of the swallows to Capistrano. This winter's frequent snow kept away the litterers from the trails and gave me a respite from my assigned duties, but with the warmer temps it appeared they were gradually returning to the park. It was sad.

 I decided I'd walk around Mirror Lake and pick up trash.

Stopping at the skatehouse, I discovered my Find of the Week... abandoned pet carrier and a 5lb. bag of dry cat food. Cat not included. Or was it?

Since the trash cans weren't available, I took home the trash I collected and disposed of it properly.

No comments:

Post a Comment