Monday, January 17, 2011

XC Skiing - Hopkins Memorial Forest, MA

Today, Roy and I headed to Massachusetts to the Hopkins Memorial Forest, owned and managed for recreation and research by Williams College. Recent storms had dumped large amounts of snow on the Berkshires, and this seemed like a good place to take advantage of it. So off we went, and it was only a little over an hour drive.

We parked at the entrance, took a quick look around the Rosenberg Center (RC) at the lower right, then put on our skis and started up the Lower Loop Trail (LL). It makes a figure-8 with the Upper Loop Trail (UL). We skied up the northern, more gentle, side of each of the loops, and came down the southern sides, which had some pretty challenging hills, some with bridges at the bottom.

It was a cold day, sunny with temps around 10, but with no wind. The snow had been hard-packed by snowshoers, and was crunchy and fast. Keeping our speed down on the downhills on the return was a necessity, and it was sometimes hard to snowplow in the "trench", which was also somewhat bumpy. We covered the 4.5 miles in about 1:45, the first hour being totally up, and the rest being totally down. It wasn't exactly the snow conditions I expected, but was a challenging and scenic outing nonetheless.

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