Millcreek, Mark And New Skis

Mark got word from REI that the cross country ski boots he ordered had arrived at the Sandy store. He's had the new skis and poles for almost a week - all he needed was the boots. We started talking about skiing tomorrow morning, but decided to hit Millcreek tonight to also allow him to try his new headlamp.

We left my work at 4:00 and arrived at Millcreek around 4:30. Mark's new skis are slick - literally. They seem to repel the snow. Needless to say they glide really good. And here I am with the only pair of skis I haven't waxed yet - doh!

Not far past the gate I spotted this baby Pine tree decorated with ornaments - not sure how I missed it before - probably because it was darker the other days.

We got up a mile or two before the daylight started fading fast. Here's a photo of Mark in the new gear:

Here's Mark making his way up the fairly steep slope right before Elbow Fork:

After dark the spotty clouds cleared to reveal the moon, which at a little past half full, provided a fair amount of light. Enough light that we didn't use our headlamps going up. It was a cold but beautiful winter night. The Pines and other trees were still flocked with snow, the amply snow covered the ground, the stars came out and shone brightly in the sky, and the pale moonlight illuminated the every-changing scenery as we skied along. I wish I had a better camera for taking night shots as I would have liked to capture those scenes to show here. Here's one of a snow-covered tree bent over the road:

At the 3 mile marker I expressed my desire to go all the way to the top, and kindly Mark agreed. There were a few steep-ish slopes along the way, but also more fantastic scenery. It always seems to take longer than you think to reach the end, but we were a bit surprised when we arrived at the Big Water parking lot. We skied the small distance further to the top lot and noticed the illuminated window and and top skylight dome of the yurt (PDF flyer). We had smelled the wood fire farther down the canyon and could now hear voices from inside. I thought about requesting a few minutes inside to get warm, but thought better of it. Mark and I put on more clothes for the descent - for me a windbreaker over my fleece jacket and another pair of gloves over my thin ones. It was startling how fast we got cold, so we got moving as fast as we could.

Going down was pretty fast and mostly fun. Even with a breeze blowing down the canyon, we were plowing a lot of cold air. We stopped 3 times to warm our hands. Mark's new skis were fast going down. I had to pole a lot just to keep up with him, which wasn't so bad as it warmed me some. There were several slopes we stayed in the tracks and got moving pretty fast. Cross country skis always feel jittery and on the verge of loosing control while going downhill to me. Mark took a few harmless spills, but I luckily had none. Good thing too as my thin "stretchy pants" would have been even colder after a fall. The ride down was simply fun. It took us 2 hours to go up, but only 37 minutes to come down.

By the time I reached the gate my hands were cold as I had not been stopping to warm them. The thermometer in my car read 12 degrees. I started the car, we loaded our gear and drove down the canyon, thankful for heaters.

What a fantastic Winter evening to be out in the mountains!

1 comment:

UtRider said...

That was awesome! Thanks for the pics.