Friday, January 23, 2009

XC Skiing - Featherstonehaugh State Forest

With temperatures expected to reach a balmy 38F, it was a day that begged for a ski outing. I hung around home for the morning, and then after lunch I headed up in the hills to Featherstonehaugh, less than a half-hour away. I hadn't skied the main loop yet this year, and was curious to see how bad the ice storm damage really was, after hearing some pretty negative reports.

I followed the informal "Purple Duct Tape" trail in from the parking area on Tidball Road, and intersected the main ski loop, which I then skied counterclockwise. Aside from some idiot having post-holed all over the trail in bare boots, it was actually in pretty good shape.

Continuing on, I noticed that the idiot had come in from Lake Road, near where the ski trail crosses a small bridge. Beyond that point, only ski tracks remained.

Beyond the bridge, the trail climbed gently though open hardwoods. There were a few trees down in this section, but many had been there for years, and the trail simply detoured around them. There was also a very small missing bridge, but the dip it formerly spanned was easily crossed without it.

It was a pretty day to be out, and warm too. I had my jacket and hat off for most of the trip. I covered the 2-mile loop in about 50 minutes at a fairly good clip, and got a good workout.

Tomorrow, it's back in the deep freeze for several more days. Hopefully, the thawed snow won't freeze into an icy crust and ruin skiing for the near future.

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