Yesterday I went out cross-country skiing for the first time since my unplanned overnight outing. It was on a groomed trail about 30 miles from home that I had skied before. A good choice for my re-entry.
So many changes had been made since my last time out. I had only one new item, boots. I got a new pair of boots to replace my gently charred pair. Since I felt my performance gear failed me on that fateful afternoon , I changed up what I wore. I change my combination of socks and liners since my boots were new and fit differently. I changed the type long underwear, and ski pants. My core ware was again covered in a combination of layers. Mittens with wicking glove liners were assigned my hands. With the light wind I chose a to top it all with a windbreaker.
I was a little unsure as I dressed, as I was cold at home before I began layering up. My biggest complaint since that night is that I am always cold especially where I got a little frost bite. But I missed winter days out and so I was determined to get back in the saddle again.
When we arrived at the parking lot there were more cars than expected and we seemed to be arriving at the same time as about eight car loads from Missoula. These cars were all filled with families with long skis, short skis, and sleds to pull tikes. Once you have invested in equipment x-country is a great inexpensive day out in the winter for families. We quickly clicked our skis in and started ahead of the families. I think it is great they were all out there with their kids, but the quiet of it all is part of the experience for me.
The snow was very fine and silky. The trails has been well packed by traditional and skate skiers. It wasn’t great conditions, but by far not the worst I had ever skied. I met several super seniors who looked to be in their 70’s skiing, letting me know I could still be doing this in another 20 years. I enjoyed myself , but never became warm, and quickly became even colder. I decided to call it a day early and headed out while John took off for a couple more loops.
As I skied out and left that mental peace behind I began to look at my fellow skiers closely. Even though it was a groomed trail most people were equipped with some kind of day pack. I looked at each person wondering what each carried in their day packs, what was in it or was it just a hydration pack with a bladder inside. I also began to look at their clothing, taking mental notes, realizing that for the most part looked to be dressed like me. My task may be to get in internal thermometer working again, not seek elusive clothing.
Mt. Haggin ski area, though remote, has a great little place called the “Soup Shack” across the road. This restaurant is completely off grid, and open weekends serving soups, hot bread and desserts. I parked my buns next to the wood burning stove and had a large bowl of cheddar chicken chowder while I waited for John to get his fill of skiing and join me. It wasn’t exactly what I had planned for but it was warm, quiet, the view out the windows was nice and I was enjoying a good book while I waited. Not a bad day at all.